August 19, 2018 / 11:57 AM / 8 months ago

Mario Blejer to interview for Israeli central bank's top job

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon plan to interview former Argentinian central bank chief Mario Blejer on Sunday for the post of Bank of Israel governor, a Finance Ministry spokeswoman said.

Blejer, tipped to join the Bank of Israel as long ago as 2013, was slated to be interviewed last week as a potential replacement for Karnit Flug but the meeting was cancelled.

Flug has said she will not seek a second term as governor after her five-year tenure ends in November.

Tel Aviv-based economics professors Ben-Zion Zilberfarb and Efraim Sadka were interviewed for the post earlier on Sunday, the ministry spokeswoman said, adding that it is possible additional candidates will be interviewed.

Blejer worked in senior positions at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank before a brief stint as president of Argentina’s central bank during the country’s economic crisis in 2002. He stepped down after a disagreement with the economy minister.

Israeli newspapers have reported on other names being considered for the job, including Zvi Eckstein, a former deputy Bank of Israel governor. Others linked with the job include Nathan Sussman, who until recently headed the central bank’s research department, as well as banking regulator Hedva Ber and Netanyahu’s chief economic adviser Avi Simhon.

Last week Kahlon said that a new central bank governor may be appointed only after the next national election due in 2019.

If a new governor is not in place by November, Flug’s deputy, Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg, is likely to replace her in the interim.

Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by David Goodman

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