Michael Horgan, the deputy minister of Finance Canada, announced to staff Wednesday that he is retiring from the public service effective April 19.
The announcement comes just two weeks after Jim Flaherty announced his resignation as finance minister after eight years in the position.
One of the main jobs of a deputy minister is to brief the minister on policy issues. New Finance Minister Joe Oliver – who was previously at Natural Resources - is in the midst of getting up to speed on his new portfolio.
Mr. Horgan sent an email to staff Wednesday morning informing them of his decision.
“As I approach my 36th anniversary as a federal public servant and my fifth as deputy minister of Finance, I have decided that the time has come for me to move on to another phase in my life,” the e-mail states.
“I have had a great and rewarding career with the Government of Canada and there is no doubt that I will miss the interesting and challenging policy environment. It has been a particular pleasure to serve as leader of the Finance team over the last few years,” he wrote.
The departure of the two top people at Finance is the latest of a string of exits over the past year involving the highest levels of the government’s economic team.
Nigel Wright, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff who resigned last May over a secret payment to Senator Mike Duffy, came from a respected Bay Street background. Mark Carney left as Bank of Canada governor in June and deputy governor Tiff Macklem has announced he will be leaving May 1.
Mr. Horgan started his public service career in 1978 as an energy economist at Finance. After holding senior positions at Environment Canada and the Privy Council Office, he joined the ranks of deputy ministers in 2003 as head of Indian and Northern Affairs. He then served two years as deputy minister of Environment Canada before leaving in 2008 to become executive director of the International Monetary Fund for the Canadian, Irish and Caribbean Constituency.
He returned to Ottawa in 2009 when he was named deputy minister of Finance.
Mr. Oliver issued his own statement to staff congratulating Mr. Horgan on a long and distinguished career.
“Throughout his 36 years of outstanding service, Michael has earned a widely respected reputation for his devotion to the achievement of excellence in public policy, as well as his remarkable ability to build networks, to inspire and to lead,” said Mr. Oliver in a statement. “Michael’s many outstanding contributions to the federal public service have had a lasting and positive influence on the lives of many Canadians, especially those who have worked with him. I am sure that you will join me in thanking Michael for his outstanding service and wishing him a long, happy and fulfilling retirement.”