April 7, 2009 / 12:34 PM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX: Spain's new economy minister

MADRID (Reuters) - Elena Salgado was named Spain’s new economy minister on Tuesday by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Here are some facts about Salgado.

* Before the reshuffle, she was minister for public administration, but is best known for her more high-profile efforts as health minister. Then she introduced Spain’s partial smoking ban, which has done little to clear the air in most Spanish bars, and rounded on fast-food restaurants for encouraging obesity by advertising bumper portions.

* Her critics say Salgado is not up to the job of tackling what analysts expect to be Spain’s worst crisis in 50 years.

* Her fans praise her as an effective administrator and a seasoned politician. She is one of the most experienced cabinet members, having served in the socialist government of Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, which lasted from 1982-1996. Then, she led efforts to reform Spain’s state pension system.

* Salgado has an engineering degree and a masters in business administration (MBA).

* The minister has hands-on business experience, including managerial roles in private companies, particularly in the telecoms sector, from 1997-2004. She served as a board member at Abertis Telecom. She also led the Industry Ministry’s small and medium business studies unit during the Gonzalez government

* From Spain’s northern region of Galicia, Salgado turns 60 next month, a trim woman known for practicing yoga, leading a healthy lifestyle and liking opera.

Reporting by Sarah Morris and Ben Harding

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