executive board

Michael Steen

Yves Mersch. Getty Images

Yves Mersch, the former governor of the bank of Luxembourg, whose elevation to the European Central Bank’s six-person executive board became the subject of a row about the lack of female central bankers, has given his first interview since taking up the post on Monday.

The ECB normally publishes transcripts of these on its website but has not done so this time, presumably because the interview with Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung was conducted just before he formally took up post. So as a service to Money Supply readers, here are some of the highlights.

Mr Mersch attempted to pour cold water on speculation that a cut to the ECB’s main refinancing rate (currently 0.75 per cent) is imminent. Read more

Claire Jones

Today the Bundesbank has leapt to the defence of the much-maligned male banker, saying that it was not them, but the women on lenders’ boards that encouraged risk taking.

This from the FT’s Frankfurt bureau chief Ralph Atkins:

Board changes at banks that result in a higher proportion of female executives “lead to a more risky conduct of business”, concluded the authors of an extensive study of German finance houses released by the country’s central bank…

…Explaining their controversial findings, based on an analysis of German bank executive teams from 1994 to 2010, the report’s authors suggest a main reason is that women executives tend to be “significantly less experienced” than male counterparts and that a lack of experience drives risk taking.

The argument that women fail to control risk because they lack experience is a bit circular surely.

But, regardless of what has happened at German lenders, a plethora of women in their upper ranks is not an excuse that central banks can rely on in explaining their policy failures. Read more

Ralph Atkins

The battle hots up. Luxembourg has challenged Spain’s self-proclaimed right to a place in the European Central Bank’s top management team. The Grand Duchy on Friday announced it would nominate Yves Mersch, the country’s central bank governor, for the upcoming vacancy on the ECB’s six-man executive board.

As Money Supply reported earlier this week, Madrid has already nominated Antonio Sáinz de Vicuña, a Spanish ECB veteran who heads its legal department, to replace José Manuel González-Páramo, his compatriot , whose eight-year term on the executive board ends in May.

The contest may prove an unwelcome distraction as eurozone leaders seek to combat the region’s debt crisis. But this could be a battle fought at the highest level. Read more

Ralph Atkins

After cutting some dash at his first two interest rate-setting meetings as European Central Bank president, Mario Draghi  will probably show a more cautious side on Thursday. The ECB’s governing council, gathering for the first time in 2012, is expected to leave the bank’s main interest rate unchanged at 1 per cent. After a tumultuous first few months under Mr Draghi the ECB appears to be in wait-and-see mode, at least for now. Read more