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Issing's replacement.

One of the great unknowns at the European Central Bank is the replacement for Otmar Issing, who retires in 2006. Issing is the ECB board member who heads the all-powerful research department. A number of questions remain unanswered, including: (1) is Issing's position considered exclusively a German seat on the ECB Council; and (2) will Issing's replacement automatically take over the research department, or will that department's responsibilities be divided among several council members?

ECB insiders say that if Bundesbank President Axel Weber agreed to take the job, the ECB leadership would find it hard not to include the entire research portfolio given Weber's enormous reputation in academic and think tank circles. But Weber has indicated he is quite happy staying at the Bundesbank. Other potential replacements probably would not know whether the research portfolio is divided up until after accepting the appointment, based on the ECB leadership's judgement of that individual's analytical ability. Others describe the situation more darkly, suggesting that Issing's departure offers an opportunity for the ECB leadership to divide the research duties and thus reduce the influence of the research power center.
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Title Annotation:OFF THE NEWS; Otmar Issing; European Central Bank
Publication:The International Economy
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Sep 22, 2005
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