Draghi Said to Face Backlash in Dispute Over Italian Colleague

Feb 12, 2014 7:01 pm ET

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Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Mario Draghi is facing resistance from euro-area central bank chiefs on his choice for a senior position in the currency bloc’s new bank supervisor, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

Ignazio Angeloni, an Italian who is Director General of the institution’s financial-stability wing, is the European Central Bank president’s pick for one of four seats the Governing Council will appoint to the Supervisory Board that starts oversight of the region’s biggest lenders in November, the people said. Draghi encountered heated opposition at a council dinner on Feb. 5, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified as the issue is private.

As the ECB expands to take on its new role, mandated by the region’s political leaders to help prevent a repeat of the financial turmoil that almost splintered the currency bloc, Draghi is attempting to steer a path between competing national claims for influence. The Supervisory Board, which meets in Frankfurt today, won’t be complete until the spat over the ECB appointments has been resolved.

A spokeswoman for the ECB declined to comment. The central bank hasn’t released the names of the other candidates for the positions. The 24-member Governing Council, which next meets on Feb. 19, has the final decision on the appointments.

ECB Disagreement

Members of the council, which consists of the ECB’s Executive Board and heads of the euro-area’s 18 national central banks, were opposed to the manner in which Angeloni’s appointment was urged by Draghi, rather than his suitability for the job, the people said.

Angeloni, 60, declined to comment on his appointment for this story.

He has been a key figure in the ECB’s work preparing for the start of supervision since being promoted by Draghi to Director General for Financial Stability in October 2012. Prior to that, he spent four years as an adviser to the Executive Board, following a term as Director for International Financial Relations at the Italian Ministry of Finance from 2005 to 2008. Draghi led Italy’s central bank from 2006 until 2011.

In its design for the Single Supervisory Mechanism, ECB policy makers have said that they are keen to end the kind of national bias in the oversight of banks that has obscured the true state of lenders’ balance sheets in the past.

“I hope that European supervision, involving teams of supervisors from various nations, will provide a new paradigm that incorporates the best elements of each nation’s approach to supervision,” Sabine Lautenschlaeger, the German vice chair of the Supervisory Board, said on Feb. 4. “This new approach will have no room for a ‘home-biased’ supervisory regime.”

Today’s Supervisory Board meeting is the first one since Lautenschlaeger was formally appointed vice chair on Feb. 11. The body, which is headed by France’s Daniele Nouy, also consists of the representatives for banking regulators of all euro-member countries.

--Editors: Paul Gordon, Zoe Schneeweiss