* Buch runs economic institute in eastern city of Halle
* Selection controversial in Merkel’s coalition
By Matthias Sobolewski
BERLIN, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Claudia Buch, an economics professor with expertise in international banking and financial markets, is to become vice president of the Bundesbank following the departure of Sabine Lautenschlaeger to the European Central Bank, government sources said on Monday.
The 47-year-old is currently president of the IWH economic research institute in the eastern city of Halle. She also sits on a prestigious panel of economic advisers to the German government, sometimes referred to as the “wise men”.
The selection of Buch for one of the Bundesbank’s six board seats was controversial in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s right-left ”grand coalition’ government.
While sources said conservative Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble favoured Buch, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) had reportedly been pressing for Bundesbank board member Joachim Nagel to be promoted.
Buch and the IWH declined to comment. The German government is expected to make the formal announcement of her appointment on Wednesday after a meeting of deputy ministers in Berlin on Monday to finalise the move.
Buch got her Ph.D. in economics at Kiel University, where she also headed a research group on financial markets at the renowned Institute for World Economics.
The Bundesbank seat became vacant when Lautenschlaeger was named to replace Joerg Asmussen, who announced in December he was leaving the ECB’s six-member executive board to become a deputy minister in the German labour ministry.
Lautenschlaeger was only the third woman appointed to the ECB’s board in its 15-year history, after Finland’s Sirkka Hamalainen and Austria’s Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell.
She is also the only woman on the broader governing council of the ECB, which includes the six-member board and the 18 national central bank chiefs.
Buch, who was mentioned as a candidate for the ECB post that Lautenschlaeger got, is well known in government circles in Berlin.
She is a member of the influential Advisory Board of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), one of the early warning mechanisms created by the ECB to identify risks in the financial system before they lead to crises.
Buch’s candidacy was reportedly backed by Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann. (Reporting by Matthias Sobolewski; writing by Monica Raymunt; editing by Erik Kirschbaum and Noah Barkin)