By Giuseppe Fonte
ROME -Italy’s government is set to appoint veteran economist Riccardo Barbieri as director general of the Treasury, replacing Alessandro Rivera in the influential position, the economy ministry said on Thursday.
The move marks a victory for newly installed Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who was looking to remove Rivera and put her stamp on key positions.
Barbieri, 64, is currently the Treasury’s chief economist. Previously he has worked for major investment banks, including J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.
Among other nominees, the ministry proposed that Biagio Mazzotta be confirmed as state auditor. The cabinet will meet at 6.30 p.m. (1730 GMT) on Thursday to ratify the appointments.
The role of Treasury director general is especially powerful in Italy, where bureaucrats get a substantial say in economic policy making and oversight of state-controlled companies against the backdrop of regularly revolving governments.
Previous incumbents have included Mario Draghi, who later became governor of the European Central Bank and Italian prime minister, and former economy ministers Domenico Siniscalco and Vittorio Grilli.
The Treasury chief deputises for the economy minister at G7 and G20 meetings and his department manages a public debt of roughly 150% of national output, the second highest in the euro zone after Greece’s.