The recently retired head of Britain's civil service, Gus O'Donnell, said on Monday that he was considering whether to apply to be the next governor of the Bank of England when Mervyn King's term expires in June next year.

Asked in a BBC radio interview whether he was interested in the job, O'Donnell said: The post will be advertised in due course, and I think between now and the time it is advertised I will have to make up my mind on that question.

Finance minister George Osborne said earlier on Monday that he would start the formal hunt for a successor to King in the autumn.

Speculation about King's successor has already started, with BoE deputy governor Paul Tucker and Financial Services Authority chairman Adair Turner priced as joint 5/2 favourites on betting website Paddy Power. O'Donnell is priced at 5/1.

Commenting on his chances, O'Donnell indicated that he thought these odds were roughly correct.

I am very strongly of the view that when you think about how important someone is as a contender you look at the betting odds. And betting odds don't make me favourite or even second favourite, he said.

O'Donnell, 59, is an economist by training. He rose to become the top civil servant at Britain's finance ministry before ending his civil service career as cabinet secretary, advising prime ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron until his retirement at the end of 2011.

(Reporting by David Milliken and Tim Castle; editing by Ron Askew)