Likely to be the next head of the ECB when Trichet leaves later this year, Mario Draghi is currently head of Italy’s central bank. He’s got the right resume:
PHD in economics from MIT
- 1984-1990: Executive Director of the World Bank
- 1991-2001: Director General of the Italian Treasury
- 2002-2005: Like seemingly every central bank official, he worked at Goldman as vice chairman and managing director of GS International
- 2006-present: Governor of Bank of Italy
On first glance, Draghi seems an excellent candidate with the experience needed to navigate the multifaceted, multi-interest ECB. But there’s a different way to look at this resume. One, he has the pedigree of all the same folks who had all the same successes and failures in the past. That is, he’s a status quo guy with the same worldview—more or less—as everyone else. Meaningful change, this is not. Two, this resume is like an archetypal, picture perfect show of what it takes to be successful in the political side of economics. Make no mistake, and as has been said on this site often, central banking is a political position both in the US and abroad now. Folks like Sarkozy, Merkel, and other EU leaders know Draghi is going to play ball with them. That’s central banking today.