Hezi Kalo announces that he is stepping down as Director General of the Bank of Israel after 12 years
Bank of Israel Director General Hezi Kalo announced today that he will step down from his position on September 15, 2020, following 12 years at the Bank of Israel. During his time at the Bank, Kalo has served as Director General alongside three governors—Prof. Stanley Fisher, Prof. Karnit Flug, and Prof. Amir Yaron. During his tenure, Kalo worked together with Governor Fisher to pass the new Bank of Israel Law, 5770–2010 through the Knesset, regulating the functions of the central bank in Israel. The law established the Supervisory Council and the Monetary Committee. Since the establishment of the Supervisory Council, Kalo has worked within the Council to advance the Bank’s activity alongside three Council Chairmen—Dan Propper, Uri Gallili, and Prof. Shuki Shemer.
As part of his position, Kalo was directly responsible for a number of departments and divisions within the Bank, including the Currency Department, the Accounting, Payment and Settlement Systems Department, the Human Resources and Administration Department, the Information Technology Department, the Credit Data Sharing System, the Business Continuity Unit, the Strategic Planning and Budget Management Unit, the Operational Risk Management Unit, and the Compliance Officer. Beyond that, he worked on matters of on-going management of the Bank and labor relations issues.
During his tenure as Director General, the Bank of Israel led many projects, including:
1. Establishing the national credit data register. According to the recommendation of the National Economic Council, and with the approval of the government, Governor Flug and the Supervisory Council approved the establishment of the Register, which is generating a dramatic change in the retail credit market in Israel. The Register, the first of its kind in Israel, was built to an exacting standard of privacy protection and cyber protection, and began operating in April 2019. The Register has led to increased competition in the credit market, and to the entry of new nonbank participants in that market.
2. Issuing a new series of bank notes. The series has won international recognition, and is one of the most advanced series in the world in terms of security features and counterfeit prevention. The launch of the new series of banknotes was completed in 2017. Combined with the launch of the new series of banknotes, the cash management system in the economy was also regulated, and banking rules were published for the proper functioning of the currency system in Israel.
3. Upgrading and adapting the Bank’s infrastructure to meet safety and emergency procedures. The Bank’s facilities in Jerusalem, which were built in the 1960s, were preserved and adapted to high safety and advanced green building standards. As part of this project, a new technology and emergency center was constructed, for the first time in the public sector, to ensure the Bank’s full functional continuity during crises and emergencies. The building was constructed with a standard approved by the Security Cabinet and based on recommendations of the committee led by Gen. (ret.) Nehushtan for national emergency preparedness. In addition, an advanced visitors center was established in Tel Aviv in order to promote financial education among the public.
4. Advancing the strategic plan formulated by Governor Yaron. The plan will include organizational preparedness at the Bank for the various strategic discussions and topic groups and the transition to operative implementation of the recommendations of the strategic plan being led by Governor Yaron, which is intended to advance and adapt the Bank of Israel toward the future as a leading and innovative central bank.
5. Leading the Bank of Israel’s internal preparedness for the corona crisis, including management of the operational situation room, human resources, technological preparedness for remote work, ensuring the functional continuity of the payment and settlement systems, and preparedness in the currency sphere.
Alongside all this, Kalo led the establishment of a number of new units and critical infrastructure to strengthen the Bank’s operations, such as the establishment of the Business Continuity Unit and formulation of the Bank’s emergency preparedness doctrine, risk and compliance management, establishment of the Accounting and Payment and Settlement Systems Department, advancement of the electronic payment array, upgrading of the Bank’s technological systems and implementation of big data technology, development and advancement of human resources to meet future challenges, and promotion of an organizational culture of cooperation and transparency alongside employment diversity.
Hezi Kalo was born in Jerusalem in 1952. He lives in Kochav Yair with his wife Aliza. He has three children and nine grandchildren. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Haifa, and graduated from the National Security College cum laude. He has 25 years of experience in the General Security Service (Israel Security Agency), about half of which was in management and command positions at the level of department head (parallel with a General’s rank in the IDF). In 1998, Kalo joined Clalit Health Services as Deputy Director General, where he served for two terms—the first as Vice President of Planning and Information, and the second as Vice President of Information and Human Resources.
Upon the announcement of Kalo’s intention to step down, the Bank of Israel Governor has established a search committee to appoint a new Director General for the Bank of Israel.
Bank of Israel Governor Prof. Amir Yaron said, “I thank Hezi with all my heart, on my behalf, on behalf of the previous governors, and on behalf of all Bank of Israel employees, for the years in which he courageously managed the Bank. Hezi’s life has been dedicated to service on behalf of the State of Israel. He came to us after many years of service in senior positions in the defense establishment, and he now leaves us after many years of service to the Israeli economy. To a large extent, Hezi is responsible for the evolution of the Bank of Israel in the past decade as an advanced and leading organization, and he has done so with praiseworthy aplomb. His success is due to endless investment and steadfastness in the face of a wide variety of challenges, with which he has dealt successfully throughout his career. And he has done all this pleasantly, modestly, and with limitless dedication.”
Bank of Israel Supervisory Council Chairman Prof. Shuki Shemer said, “I would like to thank Hezi on my behalf and on behalf of the public’s representatives on the Bank of Israel Supervisory Council for his impressive work as Director General of the Bank, and particularly in the Bank’s interface with us on the Supervisor Council. He did this with endless commitment to his job and with a real identification with the entire Bank. Hezi led the Bank of Israel’s management forward during his tenure, in his special way as an officer and a gentleman. We wish him success in his future endeavors.”
Outgoing Bank of Israel Director General Hezi Kalo said, “I was fortunate to manage one of the most important institutions in the Israeli economy, alongside three governors from whom I learned and from whom I benefited from full cooperation. It was a period full of economic, infrastructural, and technological challenges. The Bank of Israel, led by all members of management and directors, and thanks to the hundreds of dedicated professionals employed at the Bank, met those challenges honorably and helped to intelligently navigate the Israeli economy. At the outbreak of the corona pandemic in Israel, the Bank worked resolutely, led by Prof. Yaron, at the forefront of the economy’s handling of the crisis, and I was proud to help it within the areas of my responsibility.”
Credit: Bank of Israel Spokesperson's Office