ECB names Belgium's Peter Praet as new chief economist

3rd January 2012, Comments 0 comments

The European Central Bank on Tuesday named executive board member Peter Praet of Belgium as its new chief economist, taking over from Juergen Stark of Germany, who stepped down at the end of 2011.

Praet, who turns 63 later this month and has been a member of the ECB's executive board since June 2011, "will be responsible for economics, human resources, budget and organisation" under a redistribution of responsibilities following the changeover of two board seats, the ECB said in a statement.

The decision came as a surprise since two board members, Joerg Asmussen of Germany and Benoit Coeure of France, had been seen as the top rival candidates to take over the economics portfolio.

Asmussen will be responsible for international and European relations, meaning he will be the ECB's representative at international meetings and attend meetings of the so-called Eurogroup and ECOFIN.

He will also be responsible for legal services and overseeing the building of the ECB's new premises and the central bank's permanent representation in Washington.

Coeure will be responsible for information systems and market operations.

The other three members of the six-member board -- which is responsible for the day-to-day running of the ECB -- are ECB president Mario Draghi of Italy, vice president Vitor Constancio of Portugal and Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo of Spain.

© 2012 AFP

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