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Slovenia’s Bostjan Jazbec Applies for Central Bank Chief Spot

Bostjan Jazbec, an International Monetary Fund expert who helped set up Kosovo’s central bank, bid to replace Slovenian central bank Governor Marko Kranjec and sit on the European Central Bank’s governing council.

President Borut Pahor in January started collecting proposals for a successor to Kranjec, who said he won’t seek a second term when it expires in July. Jazbec joins Vice Governor Janez Fabijan in vying for the job, Finance newspaper reported today, citing Fabijan. As an independent, without the support of political leaders, Jazbec said he’s best suited for the post.

“I believe I have the necessary knowledge and experience to lead the central bank,” Jazbec, 42, said in a phone interview from Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana. “I have no political backing from the president, who proposes candidates for this post, or from lawmakers.”

Slovenia’s next central bank chief will oversee a banking industry struggling to emerge from the burden of surging bad loans as the euro-region nation battles its second recession since 2009. Banks, including the biggest lender Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d., last year had to write down the value of their assets and set aside record loan-loss reserves of 1.5 billion euros ($1.95 billion), a 23 percent increase from a year earlier, according to the central bank.

The country is also gripped by a political crisis after Alenka Bratusek, the leader of the largest opposition group, replaced Janez Jansa as the prime minister Feb. 27. She needs to have her Cabinet confirmed by mid-March or early elections would follow.

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