February 14, 2011 / 4:13 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-EU ministers choose Belgian Praet for ECB board job

* Praet brings wealth of international experience to board

* Seen as monetary policy centrist, maybe slightly dovish

* Decision means ECB Board, Council will be all-male

* Decision comes amid uncertainty about Trichet successor

(Adds detail, background)

BRUSSELS, Feb 14 (Reuters) - European Union finance ministers agreed unanimously on Monday to recommend Belgium’s Peter Praet to join the European Central Bank Executive Board at the end of May, an EU source told Reuters.

Praet is believed to be centrist on monetary policy, perhaps even slightly dovish, meaning he is more likely to take growth prospects into account in the conduct of monetary policy than strict inflation hawks do.

The six-member board is appointed by euro zone heads of government on their finance ministers’ recommendation to run the central bank’s day-to-day business. Executive board members also have a seat on the ECB’s policymaking Governing Council.

“Yes, it’s done. He was chosen unanimously by ministers,” the EU source said.

Praet, a 62-year-old Belgian, will replace Austrian Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell, who will step down from the board when her non-renewable eight-year term ends. The other candidate for the position had been Slovakia’s Elena Kohutikova.

The board consists of the ECB president, vice-president and four members. Praet’s selection makes both the board and the ECB’s Governing Council all-male clubs for the first time in the central bank’s 12-year history.

A former International Monetary Fund economist, Praet is a member of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and an alternate member of the Bank for International Settlements’ Global Economy Meeting.

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For profiles of Praet and Kohutikova, click: [ID:nLDE71D0O9]

For a graphic on ECB Governing Council members, click:

here

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The decision on who would take Tumpel-Gugerell’s board seat played out against a backdrop of uncertainty as to who will succeed ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet when his term expires in October.

Bundesbank President Axel Weber had been the favourite to replace Trichet but his shock withdrawal from the race last week threw the contest wide open, feeding unease in financial markets about divided European policymakers’ ability to agree a convincing solution to the euro zone debt crisis. [ID:nLDE71914I]

Praet’s nomination means one of the big four euro zone countries — Germany, France, Italy or Spain — would be left without a seat on the Executive Board were the next ECB president to come from a small country. (Editing by Catherine Evans)

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