RBA deputy governor Guy Debelle to join Fortescue’s renewable energy push

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He is the former DJ and punk music enthusiast who played an integral role in Australia’s response to the global financial crisis, but now Reserve Bank deputy governor Guy Debelle is taking on a new challenge: attempting to turn a mining giant into a green energy powerhouse.

Ahead of the looming federal election, Dr Debelle has announced his resignation from the RBA to join billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) as its chief financial officer.

It is a surprise announcement given Dr Debelle was only reappointed deputy last year and was seen by many as being the front runner to be appointed the next RBA governor.

Asked why he was giving up the potential opportunity to be the next Reserve Bank governor, Dr Debelle told ABC News that this role offered the chance to make an even larger long-term contribution to society.

“It’s really interesting and exciting, it’s the opportunity to take a new challenge that doesn’t always come along,” he explained.

Dr Debelle said he had noted in recent RBA speeches that his hope was for Australia to be a clean energy exporter.

This new job would give him the ability to do “a lot of good for the country, for the future, to try to contribute to the welfare of the Australian people”.

He described Dr Forrest as a “real visionary” and said that Fortescue was already moving towards a cleaner energy future.

“I very much buy into that proposition,” Dr Debelle said.

‘That’s the chairman’s vocally stated position, it’s not just rhetoric. It’s stuff on the ground. They are already doing that [going green].”

Guy Debelle stands outside the Reserve Bank head office
Guy Debelle stands outside the Reserve Bank head office on September 12, 2018. He’s now leaving the bank to join ASX listed company Fortescue. (ABC News: Maisie Cohen)

Who is Guy Debelle?

Dr Debelle has worked at the RBA for 25 years. He has been the deputy governor at the Reserve Bank since 2016 and, prior to that, was the assistant governor (financial markets) for a decade, playing a key role in Australia’s response to the global financial crisis of 2008.

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