LONDON, June 9 (Reuters) - Turkey's new central bank governor Hafize Gaye Erkan faces the tough task of alleviating a bruising cost-of-living crisis while hoping to restore investor confidence at home and abroad after years of unorthodox policymaking.

Appointed on Friday, the 43-year old is the first woman at the helm of the country's central bank, taking over from Sahap Kavcioglu, who spearheaded President Tayyip Erdogan's rate-cutting drive against a backdrop of soaring inflation.

Her new role makes her one of only around a dozen women currently serving as central bank governors around the world, including the likes of ECB President Christine Lagarde, Russian Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina and Serbia's Jorgovanka Tabakovic.

Erkan holds degrees from Bogazici University in Istanbul, graduated from Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program and holds a PhD in Operations Research and Financial Engineering from Princeton University.

She joined Goldman Sachs in 2005 as an associate and was named a managing director in 2011, making her one of many alumni of the Wall Street bank who have taken up prominent positions in the world of monetary policymaking, from former Bank of Canada and Bank of England governor Mark Carney to former ECB president Mario Draghi and former New York Fed president William Dudley.

From Goldman she joined First Republic Bank, where she eventually took over as co-CEO in June 2021. Her resignation there in December 2021 surprised investors, who had expected her to eventually take the reigns at the major U.S. lender, which collapsed in late April this year. She received a $10 million severance package, according to the bank's filings.

Widely seen as a respected figure in the financial industry and featuring on Crain's Notable Women in Banking & Finance list, Erkan sits on the board of Marsh McLennan.

Having spent all of her professional life outside Turkey, Erkan has no formal central banking experience, making her leanings for monetary policy unclear.

Those who have worked with her were not surprised that she has now accepted a public role, however.

Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of Partnership for New York City, a nonprofit organization where Erkan once served as a board director, says Erkan was seen as "tough, smart, and effective."

"She also expressed a deep interest in public policy and the welfare of the community, so it is no surprise that she would consider public service," Wylde said.

Reporting by Karin Strohecker, additional reporting by Jonathan Spicer in Istanbul; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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