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Who will Brown pick to take up challenges?

The news that Howard Davies is quitting his job as FSA chairman and chief executive three months early in September next year leaves possibly two vacancies in what are seen as the most challenging and possibly thankless roles in the City.

The big question on everyone&#39s mind this week is who Chancellor Gordon Brown will choose to replace Davies.

Most observers hope the Government takes the step of splitting the roles of chairman and chief executive, saying it will make the regulator more accoun-table at the top.

If this occurs, then the consensus appears to be that there will be a chairman from outside the regulator and a chief executive likely to be appointed from one of the existing three managing directors currently serving under Davies.

The leading candidate for chairman appears to be general manager of the Bank for International Settlements and chairman of the Financial Stability Forum Andrew Crockett.

Having run the organisation which coordinates relationships between national central banks since 1994, Crockett is a well-respected figure in the regulatory world.

Others include outgoing Bank of England Governor Eddie George, Ron Sandler, who led the recent review of medium and long-term savings on behalf of the Treasury, and Gus O&#39Donnell, who was app-ointed Permanent Sec-retary at the Treasury in June.

Outside names for the position include Inland Revenue head of savings and investment policy Paula Diggle, NAPF chief executive Christine Farnish and Aifa director general Paul Smee.

To take over the day-to-day running of the FSA, an internal appointment of someone with direct experience at Canary Wharf seems most likely, leaving managing directors John Tiner, Michael Foot and Carol Sergeant vying for the other top spot.

Odds for chairman

Banks for International Settlement general manager Andrew Crockett 2/1

Treasury permanent secretary Gus O&#39Donnell 8/1

Computacentre chairman Ron Sandler 15/1

Bank of England governor Eddie George 33/1

London Stock Exchange chairman Don Cruickshank 75/1

Walter Merricks, Chief Ombudsman 300/1

NAPF chief executive Christine Farnish 500/1

Inland Revenue head of savings and investment policy Paula Diggle 1000/1

Odds for Chief Executive

FSA managing director John Tiner 4/1

Mystery Candidate 7/1

FSA managing director Carol Sergeant 15/1

Customs & Excise chairman Richard Broadbent 20/1

Philip North (former FSA MD) 30/1

FSA managing director Michael Foot 36/1

FSA head of retail projects David Severn 500/1

Aifa director general Paul Smee 500/1

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