Politicians and economists describe Axel Weber, 47, who was nominated by the German government to be the next head of Deutsche Bundesbank on Apr. 21, as a pragmatic economist and skilled communicator who will fiercely guard the central bank's independence. Currently professor of international economics at the University of Cologne, Weber's first task will be to restore morale at the bank, which was battered by the resignation of former President Ernst Welteke following a scandal over corporate hospitality. But what businesspeople want to know is whether Weber will back interest rate cuts as Germany's representative at the European Central Bank. The odds look good. Although a monetarist, Weber is no dogmatist. So he's expected to take a flexible approach to rate-setting so long as inflation is not a threat.

Edited by Rose Brady

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