By Padraic Halpin
DUBLIN (Reuters) – Irish Central Bank Deputy Governor Sharon Donnery, who leads the European Central Bank’s taskforce on bad loans, became the first person to publicly put her name forward for the post of chair at the bank’s Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) on Friday.
The ECB began the process last month of looking for an expert to succeed supervisory chief Daniele Nouy and oversee a sector still weighed down by non-performing loans and weak profitability following the bloc’s debt crisis.
Nouy, who set up the SSM from scratch in 2014, is due to step down when her five-year term ends on Dec. 31. Prospective candidates had until Friday to apply.
“Ms. Donnery is an exceptional candidate and Minister Donohoe is pleased to have a person of her stature going forward for the role,” a spokeswoman for Ireland’s Finance Minister Pashcal Donohoe said in a statement.
Media reports have also mentioned European Banking Authority Chair Andrea Enria, ECB supervisor Ignazio Angeloni and former Dutch supervisor Jan Sijbrand among potential candidates.
Three senior Italian banking sources told Reuters last month that they expected Enria, 57, to apply, with one of them seeing him as the “perfect choice”.
Although it is up to individuals to apply, no candidate is likely to succeed without their home government’s approval and a direct lobbying effort among euro zone members.
Ireland’s government strongly backed central bank governor Philip Lane earlier this year for the post of ECB vice president that eventually went to Spain’s Luis de Guindos. Lane is expected to be a candidate to become ECB Chief Economist, another board position that is up for grabs next year.
The race to replace ECB chief Mario Draghi in 2019 could also influence the shortlist of supervisors the ECB settles on before making a final proposal to the EU Council in the autumn after consultation with the European Parliament and the Council, among others.
The ECB may also come under pressure to find a woman for the job as only two of its 25 Governing Council members are female. The Parliament has pressed EU nations for years to pick more women for top ECB jobs, something they failed to do when they selected de Guindos as vice president earlier this year.
Donnery, who joined Ireland’s central bank as an economist in 1996, became its director of credit institutions in 2014 and was promoted to the role of deputy governor two years later, the first woman to hold the role.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Andrew Heavens and David Holmes)