BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone finance ministers on Friday began the process of choosing a successor to European Central Bank executive board member Yves Mersch, whose term comes to an end in December.
Chairman of euro zone finance ministers Paschal Donohoe invited each of the 19 countries that use the euro currency to present a candidate, if they wish to, over the next month.
“Today, I launched a call for candidates. We will return to this issue in our Eurogroup in October when we will aim to select one candidate,” Donohoe told a news conference.
Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said the Netherlands would propose Frank Elderson, who has been an Executive Director of Supervision at the Dutch central bank since 2011.
“With his excellent reputation and experience, he is a rock-solid candidate,” Hoekstra said.
Other names informally mentioned by officials include Bostjan Jazbec, a former Slovenian central bank governor and now board member of the Single Resolution Board, and Slovak central bank governor Peter Kazimir.
Mersch is also the deputy chair of the ECB’s supervision arm and since there is no other banking supervision expert on the ECB board, whoever succeeds him is likely to take on the supervisory role as well.
The six-person executive board of the bank manages its day-to-day operations and members are appointed for eight-year terms that cannot be renewed.
The selection process is likely to highlight once again the ECB’s status as one of Europe’s most male-dominated major institutions.
Even though it has set equality as a priority for years, ECB President Christine Lagarde is one of just two women on the 25-member Governing Council and none of the 19 national central banks of euro zone countries has a female governor.
In October ministers will choose the one candidate with a simple majority of votes, where each euro zone country has one vote. The candidate will then have a hearing in the European Parliament, which cannot block any candidacies, and be formally appointed by European Union leaders at their summit in December.
(Additional reporting by Bart Meijer in Amsterdam and Balazs Koranyi in Frankfurt; Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Jason Neely and Catherine Evans)