August 13, 2013 / 4:41 PM / in 5 years

Serbia may hire McKinsey consultant as finance minister -source

* Serbian finance minister Dinkic fired in reshuffle

* Investors worried about debt, budget deficit

* New cabinet line-up expected by Aug. 26

By Aleksandar Vasovic

BELGRADE, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Serbia is in talks with a U.S.-educated McKinsey consultant about becoming the country’s new finance minister, following a cabinet reshuffle in July, a political source and local media said on Tuesday.

Mladjan Dinkic was fired, along with at least three other ministers, to avert a snap election. Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic had threatened to bring down the coalition government unless Dinkic was replaced and his small United Regions party ejected from the alliance.

Serbian Yale graduate Lazar Krstic, who is about 30, met Serbian deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade on Monday, the source said, and Serbian daily Blic said talks would continue over the next few days and that an agreement was near.

“Everything points to an agreement and we expect the public will be officially informed in the coming days,” Blic said.

If confirmed as finance minister, Krstic will take on the challenge of reining in Serbia’s growing budget gap and public debt, which have all but buried hopes of a new precautionary loan deal with the International Monetary Fund.

Prime Minister Dacic is expected to present his new cabinet line-up to parliament on Aug. 26.

A LinkedIn profile for Krstic lists his job as ‘Associate Principal’ at global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which he joined in 2008.

Reuters was unable to reach Krstic for comment.

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