Austria Will Name Schelling as New Finance Minister

Hans Joerg Schelling, the chairman of one of Austria’s bailed out banks, will become the country’s new finance minister after the surprise resignation of Michael Spindelegger on Aug. 26.

Schelling, 60, who has headed the association managing the Austrian social security system since 2009, was put forward by the conservative People’s Party today, the group’s Chairman Reinhold Mitterlehner said on its twitter page. Schelling is due to be sworn in by President Heinz Fischer tomorrow. His People’s Party is the junior government coalition partner of social democrat Chancellor Werner Faymann.

Schelling, who previously helped manage Austrian furniture store chains Kika-Leiner and XXXLutz, was appointed chairman of Oesterreichische Volksbanken AG in 2012, when the Austrian government took a 43 percent stake in the bank as part of its rescue.

Volksbanken’s future will continue to feature prominently on Schelling’s agenda. His predecessor, who resigned over opposition in his party against his tax policies, had ruled out more state aid for Volksbanken, prompting Moody’s Investors Service to lower its credit rating below investment grade in March.

Schelling will also need to reduce Austria’s debt level, which is forecast to exceed 80 percent of gross domestic product this year because of the wind-down of nationalized Hypo Alpe Adria Bank International AG.

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