The question of who succeeds Jean-Claude Trichet as president of the European Central Bank is not being discussed at this week’s Group of 20 meeting according to German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble who said the matter will be dealt with after March.
At the same time Finland’s finance minister said the country would put forward its central bank governor Erkki Liikanen as a candidate to head the ECB. Liikanen was the second choice for the job among economists polled by Reuters.
The favourite is Italy’s top banker, Mario Draghi. Analysts back him to replace Trichet because of his experience in several senior posts including at the World Bank, and given his reputation as a moderate on interest rate policy.
Luxembourg’s central bank chief Yves Mersch has also been spoken of. He is the longest serving member of the European Central Bank’s governing council. Mersch might get German support as he is viewed as tough on inflation .
Jens Weidman, the newly chosen Bundesbank president is thought to be too new and to young at 42. He will have been in the job only six months when Trichet retires.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, is very experienced, but unlikely to get the job because, like Trichet, he is French and the ECB has a policy of varying the nationality of its presidents.
Strauss-Kahn is also being touted as a possible candidate for the French presidential race in 2012 running against Nicolas Sarkozy.