France nominates Coeure for ECB executive

Thu Nov 24, 2011 3:42pm EST
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By Leigh Thomas

PARIS (Reuters) - France has nominated Treasury Chief Economist Benoit Coeure as a candidate for the executive board of the European Central Bank, to replace outgoing board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, the Finance Ministry said on Thursday.

Bini Smaghi resigned from his post on the ECB's six-member executive board earlier this month after coming under heavy political pressure to step down and make way for a Frenchman.

France was left without a seat on the board when Jean-Claude Trichet stood down as ECB president last month and was replaced by another Italian, Mario Draghi.

Viewed as a pragmatist by colleagues, Coeure is also deputy head of the Treasury.

The author of numerous books on economics and fluent in English and Japanese, he has played a key role during France's year-long presidency of the Group of 20 economic powers that ended this month.

"He has demonstrated the extent of his abilities and personal qualities, which he will use to the benefit of the ECB's board if he is appointed," the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

Coeure's appointment to the board would bring a second monetary policy pragmatist to the executive board with Germany's Deputy Finance Minister Joerg Asmussen replacing the more hawkish Juergen Stark on the board.

In the French tradition of central banking, Coeure is said to see monetary policy as subservient to the needs of the economy.   Continued...