Garganas gets top bank post

The General Council of the Bank of Greece yesterday proposed that Nicholas Garganas be the central bank’s next governor, succeeding Lucas Papademos who resigned to take up his appointment as vice president of the European Central Bank. Papademos proposed to the council that Garganas, the bank’s deputy governor, be appointed to the top spot. «The General Council accepted the governor’s proposal unanimously,» the bank said in a statement. The proposal will now be passed on to the Cabinet for approval and is to be ratified by a parliamentary committee and a presidential decree. But, as the statement said, «the governor informed the council that the government agreed with this proposal.» The council also adopted Papademos’s proposal that Nicholas Palaiocrassas, a member of the General Council and the Monetary Policy Council, be promoted to deputy governor. Panayiotis Thomopoulos, who was in the running for the top post, remains the other deputy governor. Papademos informed the council that his ECB appointment had been ratified by the European Council on May 23 and he tendered his resignation from the Bank of Greece, effective June 1, 2002. «Today’s decision… is a great honor for me,» Garganas said. «I will make every effort to achieve the targets of the Bank of Greece in the framework of the European system and to continue the institution’s long tradition at the same high level.» Garganas, 65, joined the central bank as a senior economist in 1975. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics and University College, London. His appointment was widely expected. But the New Democracy party shadow economy minister, Giorgos Alogoskoufis, criticized the choice as not meeting «the need for a politically independent governorship of the Bank of Greece.»