COPENHAGEN, Denmark — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said today that he has applied to be the next governor of Norway’s central bank in an appointment that would last for six years if he gets the job.
The current governor of Norges Bank, Oeystein Olsen, is retiring in early 2022 after holding the position since Jan. 1, 2011 for two terms. Stoltenberg’s tenure at NATO ends next year.
Stoltenberg said he was contacted by Norway’s Finance Ministry in November and asked if he would consider applying.
“I have now done that, and this is a job I am very motivated for,” the NATO chief said in a statement. Stoltenberg added that the Finance Ministry in Oslo “has clarified that my background as former Prime Minister and Secretary General of NATO does not conflict with the central bank’s rules on who can hold this position.”
Stoltenberg said he had made it clear to the Finance Ministry “that if I get the position, it will not be possible for me to start before my period in NATO expires on 1 October 2022.”
Norges Bank, the central bank, confirmed that Stoltenberg applied for the position.
Stoltenberg became NATO secretary-general in 2014. After a successful first term, his mandate at the trans-Atlantic alliance was extended to run through September 2022.
Stoltenberg has been praised for steering NATO through a difficult period under the Trump administration, when the U.S. threatened not to come to the aid of member countries that weren’t spending enough on defense.
U.S. President Joe Biden and his NATO counterparts are meeting in Madrid in June, where they are expected to nominate Stoltenberg’s successor.
On Tuesday, Norway’s government published a list of 22 candidates for the central bank job that includes Stoltenberg but also Norges Bank’s deputy governor, Ida Wolden Bache, who is also considered a top contender.
Stoltenberg was twice prime minister in Norway — from 2005 to 2013 and from 2002 to 2014 — and has been finance minister, and industry and energy minister. Norway isn’t a member of the European Union.