Robert Stheeman, the head of the UK Debt Management Office, will retire next year after helping the country raise over £3 trillion ($3.7 trillion) via bond markets over the past two decades.
(Bloomberg) — Robert Stheeman, the head of the UK Debt Management Office, will retire next year after helping the country raise over £3 trillion ($3.7 trillion) via bond markets over the past two decades.
Stheeman, who has been chief executive officer since 2003, will leave at the end of June after a handover period with his successor, the government said in a statement Thursday. The recruitment process for his replacement will start shortly with an appointment in early 2024.
Stheeman said his tenure at the DMO came “during a period of immense change in the UK and fixed-income markets globally.”
It included many turbulent spells: the global financial crisis, the euro-zone debt meltdown, Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic and last year’s record gilt market blowup. That made him a source of continuity for investors, as prime ministers and Bank of England governors came and went.
“I once heard him described as ‘the most important person the average person on the street has never heard of,’” said Moyeen Islam, a rates strategist at Barclays Plc. “He is hugely respected by the market and has been instrumental in making the DMO one of the most highly respected sovereign issuing agencies.”
In the past two decades, the UK’s public sector net debt as a proportion of its gross domestic product has surged, hitting around 100%. The UK’s bonds have suffered a selloff this year as the BOE aggressively hiked interest rates.
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Stheeman, 64, has overseen the DMO for the bulk of its history, after it was created in 1998 when responsibility for government debt issuance was transferred away from the newly-independent BOE. Before joining, Stheeman spent 16 years at Deutsche Bank AG as director of its Debt Capital Markets Group, where he worked with sovereign issuers.
–With assistance from Chris Miller.
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