FRANKFURT – Germany’s next government is expected to pick a new head of the Bundesbank, the national central bank, by the end of this week.
The three parties negotiating to form a government – the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Free Democrats – are due to wrap up talks in the coming days and decide on this position after cabinet jobs have been filled.
Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann steps down on Dec. 31 after 10 years of largely fruitless opposition to the European Central Bank’s easy-money policies.
Below is a list of potential candidates to take over at the German central bank when Weidmann leaves, five years before the official end of his second term:
Schnabel is a member of the European Central Bank’s Executive Board, which would make a switch to the Bundesbank unprecedented.
In her first two years as an ECB board member, Schnabel has broken the mould of German opposition to bond purchases and negative interest rates and has defended the ECB from critics in her native country.
She has recently struck a hawkish note by saying inflation might turn out to be higher than the ECB currently expects.
Nagel is a Social Democrat who worked at the Bundesbank for 17 years, rising through the ranks to become a board member before stepping down in 2016.
At the German central bank he was responsible for markets and information technology and would not routinely comment on monetary policy.
He is currently the deputy head of the banking department of the Bank for International Settlements, which he joined in 2020 after a four-year spell at German state bank KfW.
He holds a degree in economics.
Weizsäcker has been the chief economist of the German Ministry of Finance under Olaf Scholz, who is now the leading candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor.
He was a member of the European Parliament for Scholz’s Social Democrats between 2014 and 2019, sitting on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.
A prominent member of an aristocratic family, he is a pro-European economist who is well regarded by the German centre-right.
As Germany’s deputy finance minister, Kukies is incoming chancellor Olaf Scholz’s right-hand man.
He has a PhD in finance from the University of Chicago and worked for Goldman Sachs for 17 years before joining the government in 2018.
He was criticised for his role in the Wirecard scandal for sending Scholz a nine-page memo in which he played down concerns about the payment company and outlined a plan to rescue it with funds from state bank KfW.
Wieland is a long-serving member of the German Council of Economic Experts, which advises the German government.
He has often warned that an overly loose monetary policy could create financial bubbles, but defended the ECB’s bond-buying programme when Germany’s constitutional court heard a 2019 challenge to its stimulus programmes.
Wieland recently told Handelsblatt https://www.handelsblatt.com/politik/deutschland/streitgespraech-zur-inflation-wieland-fordert-geldpolitische-wende-der-ezb-allgemeines-preisniveau-steigt-fratzscher-so-einfach-ist-es-nicht/27822744.html?ticket=ST-13108143-wRWBHSIYj3xIxJqMeYbz-cas01.example.org the ECB needed a plan to exit from its low-rate policy as the current inflation surge was “more than just a short-term rash”.
Wieland teaches monetary economics at the University of Frankfurt.
Fratzscher is the most “dovish” candidate on the list, having backed the ECB’s ultra-loose monetary policy and called for more fiscal spending in Germany.
He has told Handelsblatt the current inflation rate is “nothing to worry about” and that the ECB should not raise rates in response.
A former European Central Bank economist, he teaches macroeconomics and finance at Berlin’s Humboldt University and runs the DIW Berlin think-tank.
Buch has been the Bundesbank’s vice-president since 2014 after a two-year stint on the German Council of Economic Experts.
The 55-year old former university professor accompanies Weidmann to meetings of the ECB’s Governing Council.
But she has largely steered clear of the monetary policy debate in public, focusing instead on issues relating to financial stability.
The Bundesbank’s chief economist has worked for the German central bank since 2005 after a five-year stint as the general secretary of the German Council of Economic Experts.
The 52-year-old economist is active on Twitter but has not expressed views about monetary policy in public, mainly explaining the ECB’s decisions and commenting on the economic outlook.
Feld’s main field of research is economic and fiscal policy.
Seen as a representative of Germany’s economic orthodoxy, he has in the past called for higher interest rates to prevent a property bubble.
But he has also defended the ECB’s asset purchases before Germany’s constitutional court and backed the euro zone central bank’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
A former chair of the German Council of Economic Experts, Feld teaches economic policy and constitutional economics at the University of Freiburg. He has been chosen as the head of Vienna’s Institute for Advanced Studies.