German lawyer Ernst von Freyberg has been charged by the Pope to lead the scandal-tainted Vatican bank filling a post left vacant since the previous president was ousted last May.
The bank’s board sacked Italian Ettore Gotti Tedesci for management failings.
The Institute for Works of Religion, the IOR as the bank is known officially, has been under investigation by Italian magistrates for suspected money laundering which it denies.
It has a reputation for poor financial transparency after of decades of scandals.
Three names were understood to have been put forward to the Commission of Cardinals before the final choice was confirmed.
“The Holy Father has closely followed the entire selection process leading to the choice of the new President of the Supervisory Board of the IOR and he has expressed his full consent to the choice made by the Commission of Cardinals,” explained Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.
Von Freyberg is the Chairman of Blohm and Voss, a Hamburg-based shipbuilding firm which has links to the German navy.
He holds directorships of other national companies and will work at the bank three days a week.
Born in 1958, he is a devout Catholic and a member of the Knights of Malta, a 900-year-old charitable organisation.
It is likely to be one of the last major appointments approved by Pope Benedict XV1 who shocked the world’s biggest Christian church earlier this week when he announced his retirement.
A European anti-money laundering committee criticised the Vatican bank and called for change in a report last July.