Serbia Agrees to Name McKinsey’s Krstic as Finance Chief

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic will name a McKinsey & Co. associate in New York to lead the Finance Ministry as the government prepares for talks to join the European Union and win a new international loan accord.

Lazar Krstic, a 2007 graduate of Yale University according to his LinkedIn page, agreed to take the job, Sinisa Mali, the adviser of Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, said by phone today in Belgrade. At age 29, according to newspapers Blic, Politika and Novosti, he would be the country’s youngest-ever Finance Ministry head.

Dacic is planning to present members of his revamped cabinet to lawmakers on Aug. 26. Vucic’s dominant Serbian Progressive Party wants the new government to consolidate public finances, lay out a foundation for economic growth and prepare for a possible new standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund and the EU.

“Krstic is our message to all the young, creative and intelligent people, who unfortunately had to leave this country in the past decades, that the doors are wide open,” Serbian Progressive Party official Milenko Dzeletovic, who coordinates the party’s economic team, told state TV broadcaster RTS yesterday.

Serbia averted early elections on July 31 after Vucic’s dominant Serbian Progressive Party agreed with Dacic to oust Finance and Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic, a former central banker, and his political party from the cabinet and name new ministers. With the changes, the Progressives will have control over the Finance and Economy ministries, as well as the central bank, whose governor is a member of Vucic’s party.

McKinsey Alumni

The government has tapped McKinsey employees before for policy-maker positions. After the 2000 ouster of former strongman Slobodan Milosevic, the government appointed McKinsey’s Bozidar Djelic as the head of finances and Radovan Jelasic as a central bank vice governor.

Prior to his appointment, Djelic had advised the Russian and Polish governments on macroeconomic policies and asset sales.

The new cabinet’s focus will be to secure state financing and cut borrowing needs over the medium term as well as narrow the budget deficit, the central bank’s chief economist, Branko Hinic, said in Belgrade yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gordana Filipovic in Belgrade at gfilipovic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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