Draghi replaces Trichet as European Bank head

Jean-Claude Trichet (L), former president of the European Central Bank (ECB) hands over a huge bell to his successor Mario Draghi during a farewell celebration for Trichet at the Alte Oper on October 19, 2011 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Steve Chiotakis: Well today the European Central Bank gets a new president. The Bank of Italy governor
Mario Draghi takes over as the president of the ECB. But what exactly can a central banker do when the economics and politics are so intertwined in the continent?

Reporter Christopher Werth has more from London.


Christoher Werth: The job of the eurozone's central banker is usually pretty mundane. Mario Draghi will be responsible for moving interest rates up and down to keep inflation in check.

Draghi's famous for his flawless charm and diplomacy, characteristics that are invaluable in a time of crisis. But he also has quite a resume: Draghi used to work for Goldman Sachs.

Daniel Gross is the director of the Centre for European Policy Studies. He says Draghi's stint in investment banking makes him well prepared for the possibility that a country may default.

Daniel Gross: I think this is true to his private sector experience. He sees that from time to time, people go bust and therefore for him this is nothing totally unheard of, and something that cannot always be avoided.

The domino most likely to bring down the eurozone is Italy, a country Draghi knows well. It's weighed down with debt, and right now, it's Europe's biggest problem. Gross says Draghi's inside knowledge will be vital in making sure that domino doesn't fall.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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