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UPDATE 1-Senior Deputy Wilkins to leave Bank of Canada in December

(Adds quotes from Wilkins, Macklem)

OTTAWA, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Carolyn Wilkins, the senior deputy governor who oversaw the Bank of Canada’s first-ever quantitative easing program, will leave her role on Dec. 9, months earlier than expected, with the search for her replacement already begun, the central bank said on Thursday.

Wilkins, the bank’s No. 2 official and the only woman on its governing council, was previously expected to leave at the end of her term in May 2021. Wilkins was a front-runner for the governor’s job earlier this year, but ultimately lost her bid.

“The end of the year provides for an appropriate time for me to leave the Bank, so that I can explore the next chapter in my career,” Wilkins said in a statement. Governor Tiff Macklem said Wilkins would be “sorely missed.” (Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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