• Praet adviser appointed to job that wasn’t advertised
  • ECB spokeswoman says decision followed internal procedures

The European Central Bank Executive Board received a complaint from the institution’s staff council last month, alleging that the appointment of its new Brussels representative looks like an act of favoritism.

Employee representatives penned their letter after Stephane Rottier was chosen to lead the ECB’s office in the city that hosts most European Union institutions. The position was never advertised either internally or publicly. Rottier, who will take up the role on Sept. 1, is currently an adviser to chief economist Peter Praet.

An ECB spokeswoman confirmed the complaint and said the nomination followed the institution’s procedures. Rottier’s work for Praet didn’t play a role in the decision, and Praet, who sits on the ECB’s Executive Board, was not a member of the selection committee, she said.

“Appointments at the ECB are based on ability and performance,” the ECB said in an e-mailed statement. “Rottier is an economist with 16 years of experience in central banks, the International Monetary Fund and the Belgian finance ministry.”

Rottier had applied to represent the ECB in Washington in the past. While he didn’t get the job at the time, his name and those of other suitable candidates were kept on a reserve list that was then used to fill the Brussels post without opening a new recruitment procedure, according to the ECB. A decision to raise the salary for the job was taken to bring compensation in line with that of the U.S. position, the spokeswoman said.

The complaint over the Brussels appointment was originally reported by German newspaper Handelsblatt.

A 2015 survey among ECB staff showed concerns about a lack of transparency and meritocracy in internal appointments.

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