Bank of Italy Deputy Governor Piero Cipollone will be his country’s nominee for European Central Bank instead of his former colleague Daniele Franco, according to people familiar with the matter.
(Bloomberg) — Bank of Italy Deputy Governor Piero Cipollone will be his country’s nominee for European Central Bank instead of his former colleague Daniele Franco, according to people familiar with the matter.
With the deadline for Executive Board applications set for Wednesday, no other candidate from another euro-area nation is vying for the job, said the people, who declined to be identified because the matter is confidential.
The selection of Cipollone is a dramatic twist, arriving just days after Italian officials were indicating that former Finance Minister Franco would get the nod instead.
Italian finance ministry didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.
Cipollone had been an early frontrunner for the post on the six-member board in Frankfurt, which will become vacant at the start of November when Fabio Panetta returns to Rome to become governor of the Bank of Italy.
The Italian candidate should now proceed unopposed to the next stage of nomination. Italian central bankers have typically taken a more dovish stance.
Cipollone has been in is current role for the past three years and has been at the Bank of Italy for most of his career, although he briefly served as the country’s executive director at the World Bank. He has a degree in Economics from Rome’s La Sapienza University and an MA in Economics from Stanford.
The lack of a rival for the ECB job points to a tacit acknowledgment by European Union counterparts that Italy can continue to reserve one of the Executive Board seats whose holders it has named since the euro’s creation in 1999. There’s no formal guarantee of that arrangement.
A debate on Cipollone may take place at an informal gathering of European finance ministers in Spain on Sept. 15-16. The European Parliament gets to scrutinize appointments. It can’t oppose them, though it can find grounds for delay.
That’s what happened in 2012, when former Luxembourg central bank chief Yves Mersch was kept waiting half a year before he could take up his role on the ECB’s Executive Board as lawmakers complained at the complete lack of female board members there.
Selecting Cipollone means Franco will remain Italy’s candidate to lead the European Investment Bank. He faces stiff competition for that role, with both EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager and Spanish Deputy Premier Nadia Calvino vying for the post.
Italy’s decision to push Franco for the EIB chair was reported by Ansa earlier on Wednesday.
–With assistance from Alessandra Migliaccio, Jasmina Kuzmanovic and Ott Tammik.
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