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Time for a new Central Bank Governor

March 6, 2019 at 9:17am
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The time of political decision-making has come now that a new Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus is needed to succeed Chrystalla Giorkadzi. The Presidential Palace appears to be in no rush to announce the name of the new central banker. But with the arrival to Cyprus of President Nicos Anastasiades from his trip in Britain it is expected that the name of his preferred candidate will be announced.

The President had appointed Giorkadji back on March 11, 2014 and assumed her high-profile post as Governor on April 11, 2014. In the meantime, she was briefed by her predecessor, Panicos Demetriades, on the portfolio of issues she would undertake.

Speculation over possible candidates began since the beginning of the year, but the name of Takis Arapoglou is no longer in the race since he has been appointed as the new chairman of the board of Bank of Cyprus.

Other rumoured candidates include Constantinos Herodotou who is an  executive director of the Central Bank and the former Privatisation Commissioner. It is believed that Herodotou is backed by Finance Minister Harris Georgiades and that he is the favourite. But the President of the Republic has the final say.

Another rumoured name is that of Andreas Peristianis, a non-executive member of the board of directors of the Central Bank. As well as that of Cypriot Michalis Kolakides who was a former CEO of Piraeus Bank, executive vice president of the National Bank of Greece and currently the financial director of Titan Group. Among the list of possible candidates is also Emilios Kyriakou, managing director of Citibank, Greece.

The search for a new Governor is both within the boundaries of Cyprus and abroad and it is well known that the President has exchanged views on this with a number of people, both in political and business circles, in a bid to get an overall perspective. What is leaked from the Presidential Palace is that the new central banker – in addition to academic studies and degrees – must also have knowledge of the banking system, that is, how a bank operates.

An equally important qualification for the new Governor is that he/she  can have an equal standing with counterparts at the European Central Bank. The main role of a national central bank, afterall, is to maintain financial stability rather than the direct supervision of banks.

Following the accession of Cyprus to the Eurozone, the Central Bank of Cyprus is a branch of the European Central Bank. The new Governor will be called upon to confront different challenges for each banking institution, with a focus on the consolidation of balance sheets. As well as on the capital requirements set for each institution by the Single Supervisory Mechanism and the recommendations that come with it.

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