Mario Draghi, currently the governor of the Bank of Italy, will this week take the helm of The European Central Bank which administers the monetary policy of the 17 eurozone member states.
The current president, Jean-Claude Trichet, is leaving the post after his eight-year, non-renewable mandate expires on Tuesday November 1.
Draghi’s priorities are expected to include managing issues far beyond setting interest rates, the central bank’s traditional function. Challenges facing Draghi include establishing credibility with Germany – where the ECB has become increasingly unpopular, and stabilizing the eurozone.
The ECB holds its monthly policy meeting just two days after Draghi’s presidency begins, where they will discuss setting interest rates. The council came close to lowering the main interest rate from it’s current level of 1.5%.
Draghi is known as Super Mario in Italy. He earned the name during the 1990s when he became Italy’s public face to foreign investors when the Italian economy was nearing the brink of collapse. Draghi paved the way for Italy’s entry into the eurozone, in part, after he orchestrated one the largest European privatization efforts ever.
Draghi was born in Rome and gained his well known networking skills while studying for a doctorate in economics at M.I.T., under the guidance of Nobel laureate Franco Modigliani and Robert Solow. People close to Mr. Draghi say he prefers to be practical as opposed to focusing on theories and models. He was executive director at the World Bank from 1984 to 1990 and held the position of director of the Italian Treasury from 1991 to 2001.
Mr. Draghi was vice chairman and managing director of Goldman Sachs International from 2002-2005.