Central Banking Awards 2024: second group of winners unveiled

Ukraine’s Andriy Pyshnyy named Governor of the year


Central Banking revealed the second group of winners in its annual awards today (March 14), with Ukraine’s Andriy Pyshnyy being named Governor of the year.

Now in their 11th year, the awards recognise the best of the central banking community, from the banks themselves and their commercial partners. Central Banking has been reviewing submissions and contacting referees for the past few months, as the editorial team and advisory board narrowed down a fiercely competitive field. 

Pyshnyy’s award recognises his extraordinary leadership as Ukraine endures another year of war. Other awards unveiled today include a win for the European Central Bank (ECB) for its digital transformation efforts, Bank of Namibia (BoN) taking the Transparency award and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) the Communications initiative award. Partner awards go to the World Gold Council, Iris and Kearney.

Central Banking will publish two more tranches of awards on March 19 and 21.

Governor of the year: Pyshnyy has faced a daunting task as governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU). After taking office in October 2022, he rapidly identified the most important priorities and devoted resources to tackling them. 

The Governor of the year award highlights how his leadership has strengthened the NBU and the Ukrainian economy during a period of intense stress. The central bank has been able to end monetary financing and loosen emergency foreign exchange restrictions. Pyshnyy has forged close ties with the NBU’s domestic and foreign partners, a vital effort in securing urgently needed resources for Ukraine.

The governor has also led work to toughen key infrastructure. The “power banking” scheme has kept commercial banks functioning, notwithstanding the blackouts resulting from Russian missile attacks. The NBU’s “procurement armour process”, which digitised the procurement chain, was designed so that systems would keep functioning even if the entire procurement team were killed.

Commenting on the award, Pyshnyy says the most important addition to the NBU’s mission has been a commitment to pursue its mandate under “any and all circumstances”. The central bank has faced missile and drone strikes, cyber warfare and intense uncertainty, all against a difficult global backdrop caused in large part by Russia’s invasion.

Pyshnyy says the war has forced the NBU “to go beyond what is conventionally perceived as a central bank’s business”. 

“We will remember 2023 as the year when we managed to switch from a strategy of survival to one of recovery,” the governor says. “To make that shift possible, we had accumulated unprecedented external and domestic resources. This effort laid a cornerstone that marks the beginning of our progress towards rebuilding our country.”

Digital transformation: The ECB’s Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) wins Central Banking’s inaugural Digital transformation award for its major push to develop new technology.

The SSM’s Digitalisation Blueprint established an innovation hub that has rolled out tools to supervisors across the Eurosystem. Its biggest achievements include a virtual lab for digital collaboration and an artificial intelligence-driven textual analysis platform.

“This recognition from Central Banking underscores the dedication and innovative spirit of the SSM,” says Claudia Buch, chair of the ECB’s supervisory board. “The award is not only a testament to our past achievements, but also an encouragement guiding our future endeavours.”

Transparency: Namibia has embarked on an overhaul of its monetary policy communication under central bank governor Johannes !Gawaxab. 

The BoN now announces and explains policies in new locations, on new platforms and in new languages. For its efforts, it wins this year’s Transparency award.

!Gawaxab says transparency is the “cornerstone” of the BoN’s 2022–24 strategic plan. “Our motto, ‘embedding the bank in Namibian society’, encapsulates our steadfast dedication to transparency and accessibility,” he says.

Communications initiative: Malaysia’s central bank channelled film director Wes Anderson to win the 2024 Communications initiative award.

The BNM has more than tripled its video output in the past year and achieved a more than tenfold increase in engagement – including through the TikTok trend of making videos adopting Anderson’s distinctive style and deadpan humour. Produced by a professional in-house communications team, the content is engaging, light-hearted and informative.

“It has been and continues to be a journey for us in this space,” says governor Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour. “Kudos to our communications team for taking us through this transformation in forging connections through the power of social media and being steadfast in our relentless pursuit of creativity and storytelling.”

Partner initiative: The World Gold Council (WGC) has brought together a group of central banks to develop best practice in sourcing gold from domestic artisanal and small-scale miners. It wins this year’s Partner initiative award.

David Tait, chief executive of the WGC, says: “The stakes are high but through mobilising a coalition of partners we can promote financial stability, reduce illicit flows, combat mercury and child mine labour, and improve the life chances of many marginalised and poor people while bolstering central bank reserves.”

Technology services: The award for Technology services goes to Iris, whose systems are now supporting banking supervision at an array of central banks, from India to South Africa, Nepal and Qatar. The company’s technology helps the banks secure timely and accurate data to support regulatory decisions.

“We are fully cognisant of the critical, complex and dynamic needs of central banks and take immense pride in meeting their requirements,” says Krishnan Balachandran, the firm’s chief financial officer.

Advisory services: Kearney, winner of the 2024 award for Advisory services, has demonstrated its technical expertise in helping central banks deliver ambitious payments upgrades. The firm works with central banks across the globe and has recently delivered a complex transformation programme for a central bank in the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Piyush Dubey, partner at Kearney, says Gulf Arab countries are undergoing “tremendous economic and social development” with central banks playing a key role. “The Kearney team is excited for the evolution of the financial services landscape in the region and the promising times ahead.”

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