British Treasury chief George Osborne says he will be advertising a major job for the first time ever: governor of the Bank of England.

Osborne told the House of Commons on Tuesday that adverts would be placed in the press this week calling for applications to succeed Mervyn King as head of the central bank.

"The appointment of his successor will be conducted through a fair and open competition," Osborne said. "For the first time in history the post will be advertised and the advertisement will appear in the press later this week."

King, who has been governor since 2003, and will retire on June 30 next year.

The bank sets interest rates and will soon win new powers to act as regulator of Britain's financial industry.