Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, a longtime Italian member of the European Central Bank’s executive board, has tendered his resignation, according to Bloomberg.He will go to Harvard January 1.
Bini Smaghi’s incumbency has been a major point of contention between Italy and France since late last month.
Tensions escalated when outgoing PM Silvio Berlusconi passed over Bini Smaghi for chief of the Bank of Italy.
France lost its ECB representative when Jean-Claude Trichet stepped down as bank President November 1 and was replaced by Italian Mario Draghi. That also gave Italy two board members.
This is a major political victory for France, which has been concerned that Italy wielded undue influence on the board.
At the same time, it could also mark the loss of Italian political standing in the euro area. PM Silvio Berlusconi’s loss of his majority in Parliament came on the heels of political and market pressure on his leadership.
Waning Italian political power could instill angst among Italians.
Here’s the full press release:
10 November 2011 – Lorenzo Bini Smaghi leaves the ECB for Harvard University
Today, Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, Member of the Executive Board and Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB), informed President Mario Draghi that he will resign from his position prior to the end of his term of office on 31 May 2013 to join Harvard University’s centre for International Affairs on 1 January 2012. Mr Bini Smaghi has been a Member of the Executive Board and Governing Council since 1 June 2005.
President Mario Draghi warmly thanks Mr Bini Smaghi for his contributions in the field of European and international monetary and economic affairs over many years. Throughout his mandate, including in taking his decision, Mr Bini Smaghi has upheld the independence of the ECB. Mr Draghi expresses his gratitude for Mr Bini Smaghi’s outstanding contribution to the work of the ECB and his dedication as a member of the Executive Board and Governing Council for more than six years.