VIENNA, May 30 (Reuters) - Austria is set to select central bank bosses half a year earlier than planned to avoid making the sensitive decision during next year’s election campaign, and the reappointment of Governor Ewald Nowotny is not guaranteed, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The terms of Nowotny and three other directors expire at the end of August 2013, just before the deadline for parliamentary elections, and the governing coalition partners have agreed to move forward the selection process, the Wiener Zeitung reported, without citing its sources.
“Simply renewing the four directors is unlikely,” it said, adding Deputy Governor Wolfgang Duchatczek was probably out of the running given a corruption scandal at the central bank’s banknote printing unit, of which he is chairman.
The central bank has said no members of the banknote unit’s supervisory board were aware of any wrongdoing.
The paper said former BAWAG executive Stefan Koren was a potential replacement. Koren has also been tipped as a possible chief executive for ailing Volksbanken AG, but there are conflicting reports about whether he wants that job.
While Nowotny has done a good job and his re-election would signal continuity at a time of crisis, the paper said, some officials favoured nominating Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell, the former European Central Bank Executive Board member.
The head of the Austrian central bank gets a seat on the ECB’s policy-setting governing council.
As with all political appointments in Austria, the new directors will have to balance the interests of the governing Social Democrats and conservative People’s Party. A spokesman for Chancellor Werner Faymann was not immediately available. (Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Patrick Graham)