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The six candidates to race for the ECB top job

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(11 February 2011) The head of the German Bundesbank, Axel Weber was long time as a hot favorite for the succession of ECB President Trichet. Now that Weber is out of the game, several candidates are mentioned. There is currently a huge uncertainty who shall take over the throne after Trichet leaves this Autumn. The EU heads of states should resolve this issue soonest and that usually means a compromise candidate. Will it be a "weak" candidate, as in the selection of Rompuy and Lady Ashton, or will it be a "strong" one who can ride the storm that will most likely hit the successor time and time again?

Here is a list of six candidates that has been mentioned this week:

Yves Mersch (born 1 October 1949 in Luxembourg City) is a Luxembourgian jurist and lawyer who has served as Governor of the Central Bank of Luxembourg since the bank's formation in 1998. In that capacity, he also sits as a member on the European Central Bank Governing Council. He is generally regarded[by whom?] as relatively hawkish on interest rate policy. On 19 March 2008, Mersch admonished banks for inappropriate risk management, but perhaps more unusually struck a doveish tone with regard to the future path of the European economy. Mersch studied international law in Paris and is member of the Luxembourgish bar.

Mario Draghi Knight Grand Cross OMRI (born September 3, 1947) is an Italian banker and economist who has been governor of the Banca d'Italia since January 16, 2006. In this capacity, he is a member of the Governing and General Councils of the European Central Bank and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank for International Settlements. He is also governor for Italy on the Boards of Governors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank. In April 2006 he was elected Chairman of the Financial Stability Forum, which became Financial Stability Board in spring 2009.

Jürgen Stark (born 31 May 1948 in Gau-Odernheim, Germany), is a German economist who has been a Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank since June 2006. Within the Executive Board he is responsible for Economics and for Monetary Analysis. (Although he is often referred to as the "chief economist" of the ECB, strictly speaking this is not an official title). Raised in Rhineland-Palatinate, he studied economics at the University of Hohenheim and Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen. He received a doctorate in 1975. From 1978 to 1998 he held economic policy positions in the German Federal Government. From September 1998 to May 2006 he served two consecutive terms as Vice President of the Bundesbank. Because he comes from the Bundesbank, whose inflation fighting record the ECB is consciously trying to imitate, Stark's views carry a lot of weight both inside and outside the ECB. "Stark is the representative of a good old Bundesbank tradition," said Jörg Krämer, chief economist for HVB Group in Munich, quoted in the International Herald Tribune of December 14, 2005. Arguably, he is the second most influential member of the executive board after Jean-Claude Trichet. Regarding the current subprime mortgage crisis Jürgen Stark said in August 2008 that "weak banks should be allowed to disappear from the market."

Europe’s first chief bailout-out officer of the EFSF is Klaus Regling, a former Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs, having previously worked at the IMF and the German Ministry of Finance. He has Bachelors degree in Economics – University of Hamburg and Masters Degree in Economics – University of Regensburg.

Erkki Liikanen (born September 19, 1950, Mikkeli) is a Finnish social democratic politician and the Governor of the Bank of Finland . Erkki Liikanen had a Masters degree in Political Science (Economics) from the University of Helsinki in 1975. He was elected to the Parliament in 1972 when he was only 21 years old. He left the Parliament in 1990 to become the first Finnish ambassador to the European Union. In 1994 Liikanen became the first Finnish Member of the European Commission. He was Commissioner for Budget, Personnel and administration, including responsibilities for translation and information technology. He has been Governor of the Bank of Finland since 12 July 2004. He is also Member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (2004– ) and Governor of the International Monetary Fund for Finland (2004– ).

Ewald Nowotny (born June 28, 1944, in Vienna) is an Austrian economist and social democratic politician and currently president (governor) of the National Bank of Austria. He graduated with a doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1966, took his habilitation at the Johannes Kepler University Linz in 1972 and has been a full professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration since 1982. Since 1974, he has held various functions in the Austrian Social Democratic Party. He was a member of the Nationalrat, the more important chamber of the Austrian parliament, from 1978 to 1999. From 1999 to 2003, Professor Nowotny was vice president of the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg. From the beginning of 2006 until mid-2008, he was the CEO of BAWAG P.S.K.. Since September 2008 he has served as the Governor of the Austrian National Bank.


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