Donohoe backs Donnery bid to chair SSM board


Central bank deputy Sharon Donnery
Central bank deputy Sharon Donnery

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has thrown his full weight behind Central Bank Deputy Governor Sharon Donnery’s bid to win a top job at the European Central Bank.

It effectively means the Government here is backing both the Central Bank Governor Philip Lane and his most senior deputy to move to top roles at the ECB.

The Department of Finance told the Irish Independent last night that Sharon Donnery has the “full support of Minister Donohoe” in her application for the role of chair of the of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) Board at the ECB.

The Minister doesn’t have a roll in the SSM appointment, but gave his clear backing after a report in Germany said Angela Merkel’s government there will back both Irish candidates to take two top ECB jobs at the same time.

That’s a rarity in the complicated horse trading for senior EU positions. Germany is likely to want support elsewhere for its own candidates as a quid pro quo.

In August, Sharon Donnery formally put herself forward as a candidate to become chair of the powerful SSM Board, which coordinates bank supervision across the Euro area.

It prompted speculation that if she succeeds it will derail Governor Philip Lane’s candidacy to become ECB chief economist or even ECB president to succeed Mario Draghi when those jobs come up next year.

Paschal Donohoe was known to be backing Governor Lane for a top ECB job, he nominated the Governor to become ECB vice-president earlier this year, though that job went to Spain’s Luis de Guindos in a two-horse race. Governor Lane is seen as an especially strong candidate when the chief economist role falls vacant next year.

Complicating things further, the SSM position sought by Sharon Donnery isn’t in the gift of European governments – unlike the other top ECB board jobs.

The appointment will be made by the ECB’s own governing council and Ms Donnery did not require a nomination from Mr Donohoe to become a candidate.

But Minister Donohoe has swung in behind her, while also voicing support for Philip Lane to move when a post comes up.

“Governor Lane is doing an excellent job at the CBI. We will continue to support him in that role and in any future opportunities that may arise,” his Department said.

Germany’s ‘WirtschaftsWoche’ magazine reported yesterday that the German government favours Irish candidates for both the ECB chief economist post and to head bank supervision arm.

Ireland has never previously secured a top ECB appointment.

Irish Independent

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