December 31, 2010 / 9:24 PM / 8 years ago

Profile: Estonian central bank chief Andres Lipstok

TALLINN (Reuters) - Estonia on Saturday will become the 17th country to adopt the euro currency.

The following is a profile of the country’s central bank governor, Andres Lipstok, who will take a seat on the Governing Council of the European Central Bank which sets interest rates and other monetary policy for the euro zone:

Name: Andres Lipstok

Position: Head of central bank of Estonia

Date of birth: February 6, 1957

Key facts:

— Lipstok is a former veteran politician who became head of Estonia’s central bank in 2005. His term runs until 2012. Only one consecutive term is allowed.

— Earlier he had been a member of parliament from 1995, as well as a minister of finance and a minister of economic affairs. In the Soviet period, he was also a deputy minister of finance.

— As head of the central bank, he has been a safe pair of hands overseeing Estonia’s tight currency peg under a currency board system.

— He has been a staunch supporter of euro adoption, which Estonia has achieved, entering the single currency zone in January 2011.

— The central bank in February 2009 took a loan from Sweden’s central bank worth 10 billion Swedish kroons to make sure Estonia had enough liquidity to back the currency board.

— Lipstok has also stressed the need for financial sector stability, in a country where Nordic banks are now the dominant lenders.

— He has also urged the Baltic country’s center-right government to keep to a conservative fiscal policy in the future, leading some economists to suggest he may sit toward the hawkish end of the policy spectrum as an ECB member.

— He speaks little English and tends to use interpreters at events.

— Current central bank deputy Marten Ross remains favorite to take over from Lipstok in 2012 although politics will be the ultimate determining factor.

— Lipstok is married with two children.

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