(Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is expected as early as this month to announce a new central bank governor to replace Amando Tetangco, the widely praised chief who steps down in July after serving the maximum two six-year terms.
The president is seen favoring someone who will continue Tetangco’s monetary policies and reforms that helped keep the $300 billion economy humming for years. And the four names widely floated as potential successors - two deputy central bank governors and two veteran bankers - were expected to do just that.
The following are details and backgrounds of the four bankers most widely believed to be in the running to be the next chief of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP):
Espenilla, 58, has served as deputy central bank governor in charge of banking supervision since 2005.
He joined the central bank more than 35 years ago, shortly after graduating magna cum laude in business economics from the University of the Philippines.
Espenilla has driven many of the central bank’s recent reforms, including raising minimum capital requirements, improving financial transparency, and overhauling mismanaged banks.
If appointed, he told Reuters last month his main priority would be to ensure inflation remained low, while speeding up “equitable growth”.
“If inflation is low but the impact is limited because of various structural roadblocks, then I don’t think our work is anywhere near complete, so we need to constantly focus on this,” he said.
Favila, 68, is an independent consultant for the central bank after serving as a member of the monetary board for four years.
He was also trade minister under former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Favila, a graduate of the Wharton School’s advanced management program at the University of Pennsylvania, has also served as chairman of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE.PS).
He did not respond to a Reuters’ request for comment on what his priorities would be if appointed central bank chief.
Guinigundo, 62, is deputy central bank governor for monetary stability, a position held by Tetangco prior to becoming governor.
In his nearly 40 years at the central bank, he has also served as assistant governor for monetary policy and international operations.
Guinigundo, who has a masters in economics from the London School of Economics, spearheaded last year’s introduction of the interest rate corridor system, helping monetary policy pass more efficiently into the real economy.
He also initiated the central bank’s shift from monetary to an inflation-targeting framework in 1999.
Guinigundo believes Tetangco’s successor must be able to quickly make decisions in an ever changing global economic environment, something he says he can do with all of his experience.
“We need to recalibrate or change tools if necessary and that is what I can bring to the table,” he told Reuters in February. “I continue to search for new ways of doing things because the dynamics of monetary management has changed.”
Moncupa, 58, is chief executive and vice chairman of mid-sized lender East West Banking Corp (EW.PS).
He has more than 30 years of experience in the banking industry, including working for the International Exchange Bank, the United Coconut Planters Bank and the Union Bank of the Philippines (UBP.PS).
Moncupa, who has a masters in business administration from the University of Chicago, has the backing of Duterte’s political party to be the next central bank chief.
Moncupa said the challenges facing the next central bank governor are not only monetary policy and banking supervision, but also the fight against money laundering and terrorism.
“If all these are done effectively, the appropriate level of savings and investments will happen and the banking industry can be harnessed as an instrument to help promote inclusive growth,” he told Reuters last month.
Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Randy Fabi