Former BNP Executive Villeroy Named to Head Bank of FranceMark Deen and Fabio Benedetti-Valentini
French President Francois Hollande nominated former BNP Paribas SA executive Francois Villeroy de Galhau as governor of the Bank of France.
The 56-year-old Villeroy will replace Christian Noyer, who retires in November, if the finance committees of France’s upper and lower houses of parliament support the nomination. He’ll sit on the European Central Bank’s Governing Council and so have a say in the implementation of its 1.14 trillion-euro ($1.3 trillion) bond-buying program.
Hollande’s pick comes after months of speculation over contenders for the coveted seat at the helm of a Group of Seven central bank. Possible candidates included ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure, the French president’s economic adviser Laurence Boone, and Claire Waysand, the chief of staff to French finance minister Michel Sapin. An ECB spokeswoman declined to comment on the nomination.
France traditionally draws its central bankers from the ranks of its finance ministry, where Villeroy worked between 1987 and 2003. That period included a three-year stint starting in 1997 as chief of staff to then finance ministers Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christian Sautter.
Villeroy left the finance ministry for banking and became chief operating officer at BNP Paribas in 2011. Earlier this year, he departed the bank to write a report on investment for Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
His links to a commercial bank could yet draw objections from some legislators. Mario Draghi’s appointment as ECB president in 2011 was criticized because of his earlier role as an executive at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Villeroy is a graduate of France’s elite Ecole Nationale d’Administration. He is married and the father of five children.
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