Position: Italian Prime Minister, Italian finance minister Incumbent: Mario Monti Born: Mar. 19, 1943 Term: Nov. 2011, next election due 2013 Key Facts:
- Mario Monti was appointed by President Giorgio Napolitano to lead a technocrat government, replacing Silvio Berlusconi who lost his parliamentary majority as the euro debt crisis threatened to push Italy’s borrowing costs out of control. Monti also holds the finance and economy portfolio. He has said he intends to remain in office until the next scheduled elections in 2013.
- Monti, a distinguished economist, served as a European Commissioner between 1995 and 2005, first as internal markets commissioner and later as competition commissioner, where he made his name in high profile battles against corporate giants Microsoft and General Electric. He was President of Milan’s Bocconi University before being named Life Senator by Napolitano and asked to form a government after Berlusconi’s resignation.
- Sober and reserved, in sharp contrast to his flamboyant predecessor, Monti is known as a tough negotiator. He has close connections to European policy makers from his time in Brussels and is a former adviser to Goldman Sachs and Coca Cola and a member of the Bilderberg group of business leaders and other influential figures.
- Monti has pledged to restore confidence in Italy’s public finances through budget rigour, economic growth and social fairness. Priorities include pension, tax and labour market reform as well as education and getting more women into the workforce. He has maintained Italy’s target of achieving a balanced budget by 2013 and has argued for greater economic and fiscal integration between European Union member states.
Position: Bank of Italy Governor Incumbent: Ignazio Visco Born: Nov. 21, 1949 Key facts:
- Visco, formerly number three at the Bank of Italy, was appointed to the top position in October as Mario Draghi left to become President of the European Central Bank.
- A distinguished academic and former chief economist at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Visco was previously the Bank of Italy’s sherpa for G7 and G20 meetings and has wide international experience.
- He had good relations with former centre-right Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti but was also well regarded by the centre-left opposition, which welcomed his appointment.
- Considered open-minded and pragmatic, he is not ranked among the hawks on the ECB’s governing council.