MOSCOW, March 11 Kremlin aide Elvira Nabiullina may be tapped to become the next head of Russia's central bank, two sources familiar with the matter said, installing a technocrat loyal to President Vladimir Putin at the helm.
Nabiullina, a 49-year-old economist and former economy minister, emerged as a compromise choice after it became clear that Putin did not want to pick a central bank insider, while other candidates were too controversial.
The sources said Nabiullina had emerged as the sole contender after another candidate, whom they did not name, dropped out of the running.
Putin, speaking to journalists last Thursday, the eve of the International Women's Day holiday in Russia, signalled he had made his choice but stopped short of saying whom he had picked. "It will be a surprise. You'll like it," he said.
The Russian leader has until March 24 to formally nominate a successor to Sergei Ignatyev, who retires in June after 11 years in the job, during which the central bank has built its credibility by bringing inflation down into single digits.
No comment was immediately available from the Kremlin.