February 5, 2020 / 6:52 PM / 12 days ago

Italy and France eye EBRD top job - sources

ROME/PARIS (Reuters) - Italy’s former Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan and the French Treasury head Odile Renaud-Basso are front runners to become president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), several sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

The matter is expected to be discussed at the next meeting of European Union finance ministers in Brussels, although there will not necessarily be a decision, one of the sources said.

The EBRD’s board of Governors will elect a new president to succeed British Suma Chakrabarti in May 2020.

To be elected, a candidate has to receive the votes of a majority of governors, who should represent not less than a majority of the total voting power of members.

Padoan declined to comment on the issue and Italy’s and France’s Economy ministries also declined to comment.

The EBRD was set up in 1991 to invest in the ex-communist economies of eastern Europe and is now operating in 38 countries across three continents.

Padoan once worked at the International Monetary Fund and was also chief economist at the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development before serving as Italian economy minister from 2014 to 2018 in centre-left governments.

As head of the OECD’s economics department, Padoan was an early critic of tough budget cutbacks in the euro zone’s weakest economies as they struggled with excessive debt.

Odile Renaud-Basso, 1965, was the first woman to be named head of the French Treasury in 2016.

She is one of France’s top negotiators in Brussels and other global forums, working behind the scenes on hot issues such as the Greek debt crisis or a potential British exit from the European Union.

Additional reporting by Jan Strupczewski in Brussels and Giselda Vagnoni in Milan, editing by James Mackenzie in Milan and Alexandra Hudson

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