September 4, 2019 / 3:34 PM / 12 days ago

Italy's Panetta in ECB frame as euro zone eyes Coeure successor

BRUSSELS/ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s Fabio Panetta is the name in the frame for the European Central Bank executive board as euro zone authorities prepare to start discussions on choosing a successor to Benoit Coeure.

Panetta, a member of the Bank of Italy more than three decades, is the only person being mentioned by officials in private discussions, sources said - nine days before the bloc’s finance ministers meet to set a deadline for its governments to put forward candidates.

Coeure, who often represents the ECB at international events and on international bodies, is highly regarded by markets and fellow central bankers for his economic competence.

His term on the six-person board ends on Dec 31, and his successor will serve a non-renewable eight-year term.

Each of the euro zone’s three biggest economies - Germany, France and Italy - have traditionally had one representative on the executive board, and the Italian seat falls open on Oct. 31 with the departure of ECB President Mario Draghi.

Euro zone finance ministers will in October recommend one candidate from those put forward, who will have a hearing in November in the European Parliament. Parliament’s views are non-binding an have been ignored in the past.

EU leaders have the final say and will appoint Coeure’s successor at a summit in December.

“So far there has been only one name circulating in unofficial conversations — Fabio Panetta’s,” one euro zone official said. Two other officials said Rome would put him forward.

Panetta has been the senior deputy governor of Italy’s central bank since May.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski and Giselda Vagnoni; editing by John Stonestreet

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