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ECB bank watchdog may soon not have second-in-command before Brexit

Lautenschlaeger will end term as planned in February

Piotr Skolimowski | Bloomberg 

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The European Central Bank’s watchdog for the region’s lenders may be left without its second-in-command this month as the incumbent concludes her time in office before the Governing Council can gather to propose a successor.

“Sabine Lautenschlaeger’s five-year term as Vice Chair of the Supervisory Board will end as planned in February,” the ECB said in a statement by a spokesperson. “She will continue her eight-year term as member of the Executive Board.”

The move raises the prospect that weeks before a possible disorderly Brexit, the watchdog for the euro region’s biggest banks may be led solely by Andrea Enria, who has been in the job of chair of the Single Supervisory Mechanism for only a month. Lautenschlaeger, 54, claimed on Friday that the ECB feels “well prepared as far as that’s possible.”

In January, ECB President acknowledged a delay in agreeing the succession, saying “no I’m sorry, not yet,” when asked about the matter.

The Governing Council was previously scheduled to hold a non-monetary policy meeting next week, which is now no longer planned. That means it isn’t currently slated to gather formally before Feb. 20 -- nine days after Lautenschlaeger’s term concludes. Any meeting prior to that date might have to be ad hoc, perhaps by conference call.

Lautenschlaeger had repeatedly told colleagues she was unwilling to stay on in a temporary capacity, people with knowledge of the matter said in January.

Without the option of keeping her, Draghi should choose a vice chair from among the other members of his Executive Board, two of whom are due to quit later this year.

Only Vice President Luis de Guindos, Spain’s former finance minister and a one-time executive at , would have a long-enough term remaining to serve the full five years required by the role.

First Published: Sat, February 02 2019. 21:48 IST