National Economic Council chairman Prof. Eugene Kandel is expected to resign his position shortly, sources inform "Globes."
Kandel's resignation is unrelated to the controversy concerning the approval of the plan for the natural gas industry, which Kandel has led in recent weeks. In private conversations, Kandel said that he had sought to leave his post a while ago. Possible candidates to replace him include Prof. Avi Simhon, a contemporary of Kandel, who chaired the committee advising Yuval Steinitz when he was Minister of Finance.
This month marks the end of Kandel's sixth year in his position, amounting to two full terms. A source who spoke with Kandel in recent days predicted he would turn to the private market. In view of Kandel's many activities in his current post, there is a fairly limited number of senior positions in Israel that he can accept without having to wait out a cooling off period.
In 2009, Kandel replaced Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, who headed by National Economic Council since its founding in September 2006. An economist specializing in finance with a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago, Kandel holds neoliberal views matching those of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Their ideological rapport in economics helped Kandel retain the prime minister's trust during his entire time in office, as recently shown by Netanyahu's request that Kandel be asked to deal with the crisis in the natural gas sector, following Antitrust Authority director general Prof. David Gilo's decision to rescind his compromise agreement with Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG) and Noble Energy.
Promotion of the controversial gas plan put Kandel in the public and media spotlight, after having previously served in position on public committees like the Sheshinski Committee, the Tzemach Committee, and the committee on over-concentration. In addition to the gas plan, Kandel last week presented to the cabinet the strategic assessment prepared by National Economic Council of the principal challenges facing the economy over the coming 15 years.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 2, 2015
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