Jens Stoltenberg to head central bank

Former prime minister leaving NATO post at critical juncture in foreign relations

Jens Stoltenberg

Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB
On Feb. 4, it was announced that former prime minister Jens Stoltenberg will head Norway’s central bank.

The Local

Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg will take over as head of Norway’s central bank “around Dec. 1,” officials said on Feb. 4. The appointment comes amid rising tensions between the West and Russia.

A former prime minister and finance minister in his native Norway, Stoltenberg beat out the central bank’s deputy governor, Ida Wolden Bache, for the job.

His appointment comes as Western nations fear Russia has plans to invade Ukraine, which aspires to join the NATO alliance.

The 62-year-old trained economist had previously stipulated that he would only be able to take on the new role after his term as NATO secretary general ends in October.

The selection process has made headlines in Norway, where commentators and politicians have raised concerns about political nepotism, because of the newly appointed governor’s longstanding ties to the ruling Labor Party. In December, Stoltenberg said he had submitted his candidacy for the job after having been contacted by the finance ministry.

“The finance ministry contacted me in November to see if I’d apply for the job. I did it; it’s a position that motivates me hugely,” he said in a press announcement.

“I made it clear to the finance ministry that if I get the job, I wouldn’t be able to start work until the end of my NATO mandate on Oct. 1,” Stoltenberg said.

The current governor of the bank, Øystein Olsen, is to retire this month at the age of 70. Bache will serve as interim head, the government said.

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 18, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Local

This article first appeared in The Local, a independent source for Norway's news in English. Visit