Italy’s Mario Draghi appointed new ECB president

Italy’s Mario Draghi was appointed the new head of the European Central Bank on Friday, to replace current ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet at the end of October, EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy said.

“The European Council has just agreed on the appointment of Mario Draghi as new President of the ECB,» Van Rompuy, who chairs EU leaders’ talks, said in a message posted on Twitter.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy sought assurances that another Italian on the ECB?s six-member board, Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, would quit early to make way for a Frenchman, three officials told Bloomberg news agency.

Sarkozy was backed into a corner by the release of a draft statement, prepared overnight, that proclaimed the 63-year-old Draghi the ECB?s next president as of Nov. 1.

Coming as European leaders sought to project a united front over a second bailout for debt-stricken Greece, the deal was clouded by the same political manoeuvring that marked the appointment of outgoing ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet.

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology-trained economist with a stint at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on his resume, Draghi had already been backed by finance ministers and was the only candidate to take over the Frankfurt-based ECB.

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