Mario Draghi [ ˈdraːgi ] (born September 3, 1947 in Rome ) is an Italian economist and central banker who was President of the European Central Bank (ECB) between 2011 and 2019 . Before that, he was governor of the Banca d'Italia from 2005 to 2011 . He has been the Italian Prime Minister since February 13, 2021 .
After a long career as an academic economist in Italy, Draghi worked for the World Bank in Washington, DC in the 1980s and returned to Rome in 1991 to become Director General of the Italian Treasury . After a decade, he left that position to join Goldman Sachs , where he stayed until he was appointed governor of the Banca d'Italia in 2006. His tenure as governor coincided with the Great Recession . He was also the first chairman of the Financial Stability Board .
Draghi left both roles after being appointed President of the European Central Bank by the European Commission in 2011 . He headed the institution during the euro crisis and became famous throughout Europe when he announced in a speech in London that he would do everything possible to prevent the euro from failing ( Whatever it takes ). In 2014, Draghi was listed by Forbes as "the eighth most powerful person in the world". In 2015, Fortune rated him "the world's second largest political leader". In May 2019, Paul Krugman described him as "the greatest central banker of modern times".
On February 3, 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic , Draghi was invited to form a new government by Italian President Sergio Mattarella following the resignation of Giuseppe Conte due to a government crisis . An all party government ( Draghi cabinet ) was formed on February 12, 2021 under Draghi's leadership.
Mario Draghi was born in Rome on September 3, 1947. His father Carlo, born in Padua, had worked for the Italian central bank since 1922 and first moved to the Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale (IRI) and then to the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL). His mother, Gilda Mancini, a native of Monteverde (Avellino), was a pharmacist. He has two younger siblings, the art historian Andreina and the entrepreneur Marcello. When Draghi was fifteen years old, his father died and shortly afterwards his mother too. As an orphan , he was raised for a while by a sister of his father's. He himself took on responsibility for his younger siblings at an early age.
After finishing school, he studied economics at La Sapienza University in his hometown, including with Federico Caffè (1914–1987), a popular economist from the Keynesian school . He completed his studies in 1970.
For his doctorate, Draghi then moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge (USA), where he received a scholarship . At MIT, Draghi studied under Franco Modigliani , who later won the Nobel Prize in Economics , attended events by Rudiger Dornbusch and met the later governor of the Israeli central bank , Stanley Fischer , with whom he would stay in touch long after his doctorate. With his work “Essays on Economic Theory and Applications”, co-supervised by Robert M. Solow , Draghi received his Ph.D. in 1977 from Modigliani. PhD in economics. Among other things, he dealt with the theoretical principles of currency devaluation as well as the relationship between short-term stabilization policy and long-term planning goals. Draghi was the first Italian citizen to receive a doctorate from MIT.
Professional career until 2005
From 1975 to 1981 Draghi was a lecturer in economics at the Universities of Trento , Padua and Venice before he was appointed professor for economics and monetary policy at the University of Florence in 1981 . During his time in Florence, Draghi was also the Italian Executive Director of the World Bank between 1984 and 1990 . In 1991 he finally resigned his professorship and moved to the Italian Ministry of Finance as General Director .
At the turn of the millennium, the Italian government campaigned for Draghi to be appointed Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund to succeed Michel Camdessus . Many other European governments met with skepticism, however, mainly because Romano Prodi , another Italian, had just taken over the presidency of the European Commission . The post of IMF director finally went to the German Horst Köhler .
In May 2000 Draghi took over the chairmanship of the Economic and Financial Committee of the European Union. However, he was only to remain in this position for a short time: at the end of 2001, after almost ten years in office, he resigned as General Director of the Ministry of Finance. During his tenure, Draghi was in charge of the implementation of the largest privatization program to date in the European Union outside the UK. With it, the Italian state finances should be brought into shape - ultimately successfully - so that the country could convert to the euro in 1999. A committee under his leadership also renewed the Italian law on acquisitions of listed companies (the law is also known colloquially as the "Legge Draghi"). Draghi gained considerable worldwide renown during this period. However, he also received criticism from various quarters for the process of privatizing Telecom Italia . The sale of the approximately 45 percent state stake in the company - to date the largest single privatization ever carried out in Europe - had led to considerable leadership quarrels in the company's management bodies for many months, for which critics primarily blamed planning errors by the government .
Governor of the Italian Central Bank (2006-2011)
Appointment and program
At the end of 2005, Draghi was appointed to succeed Antonio Fazio as the future governor of the Italian central bank ( Banca d'Italia ). Fazio had resigned from office only ten days earlier - after resisting calls for resignation for a long time. A public prosecutor had investigated him on suspicion of abuse of office and secret agreements with domestic bidders in several bank takeovers; He was also suspected of having accepted expensive gifts from banks during his twelve-year tenure. This had badly damaged the reputation of the central bank among the population and among investors. Against this background, politicians associated Draghi with the hope of improving the bank's image. His appointment was supported by both the government and the opposition - which was probably also possible because Draghi had never previously positioned himself in party politics. Draghi took office in January 2006. The first thing that applied to him was the new six-year term in office (with the option of a one-time extension for a further six years), which the cabinet passed the day after Fazio left.
In his new post, Draghi positioned himself early in favor of liberal reforms of the Italian state and the economy. On the occasion of the central bank's first annual press conference under his aegis, he argued against state interventionism and called for the removal of obstacles to growth, a reduction in new borrowing, a reduction in bureaucracy, an increase in the retirement age and a reduction in the tax burden on wages. In contrast to his predecessor, who made the central bank - equipped in Italy with extensive regulatory powers - extremely robust in merger and takeover projects in the banking sector, in particular to prevent influence from abroad, Draghi saw an opportunity in a more cautious approach by the bank to improve the competitiveness of the Italian banking landscape, which is low by European standards. He also explicitly called on the commercial banks to be open to mergers with foreign companies. In order to incentivize the consolidation of the banking sector, the central bank under Draghi abolished the right of veto that it had previously stipulated for mergers in the financial sector. At the end of Draghi's first year in office, this triggered a “wave of consolidation” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung) in Italy . The consolidation process reached a climax with the merger between Unicredit and Capitalia to form one of the ten largest financial groups worldwide.
Within the Banca d'Italia itself, Draghi decided to reduce the branch network of the bank, which was widely branched when he took office, by half to around 50 branches and to convert the remaining branches of general service providers into specialized branch offices. This triggered resistance from employees, unions and in the affected regions.
Financial Stability Board
During his tenure as head of the Italian central bank, Draghi was also chairman of the Forum for Financial Stability and its upgraded successor, the Financial Stability Board (FSB). The task of the Council is to coordinate the work of the national financial supervisory authorities and the institutions that set international regulatory standards for the financial sector at the international level. It was precisely in this role that Draghi was in the public eye during the global financial crisis that began on the American subprime market in 2007 . After the monetary policy transmission channels of the ECB had proven to be increasingly dysfunctional in the course of 2008, Draghi was one of the first members of the ECB Executive Board to publicly support the plans of some European governments to counteract the recession through additional government spending. As FSB chairman, he warned in mid-2009 that the bank balance sheet had to be cleaned up. Draghi saw the repair of the banking sector and a sustained improvement in the economic situation as a prerequisite for a more restrictive monetary policy course to be initiated subsequently. In the fall of 2009, the FSB under Draghi agreed to limit the bonus payments made by banks to their employees, as long as the houses do not meet stricter capital requirements. Draghi described the measure at the time as "the most important project we are pursuing".
A reminder of national stability
The Italian economy went through a recession in 2009 ; compared to the previous year, economic output fell by around 6 percent. At the beginning of 2009, Draghi spoke out sharply against a plan by the Italian Ministry of Finance to give administrative officials ( prefects ) a say in lending by private banks in times of crisis. Draghi criticized before parliament that such a move would subject lending decisions to local political considerations and undermine lending independence. At the same time, he called on the banks to return to the values that would have made the economic boom of the 1950s and 1960s possible in view of the tense economic situation in the country. In particular, he advocated taking the bankers' credit policy as a model and - given the extraordinary current economic situation - acting with “foresight” when determining creditworthiness, without, however, having to do without essential credit checks. Draghi was thus looking for a bridge between the government's demands for the most expansive lending possible on the one hand and fears that excessive lending during the crisis would lead to an inflation of the subprime segment and thus endanger the banking system as a whole. In early 2010 he called on Italian banks to hold back on dividend payments this year (when the Italian economy was showing signs of recovery) and instead increase their own funds .
Aside from financial policy, Draghi continued throughout his term of office to criticize the government's failure to implement what he saw as necessary structural reforms. In autumn 2009, for example, he reaffirmed his demand to substantially raise the retirement age and to reform unemployment insurance, which does not cover millions of employees at all or only insufficiently. The labor market should finally be organized more efficiently. In mid-2010, he used the incipient Greek sovereign debt crisis as an opportunity to emphasize that it had made structural reforms even more urgent in Italy. In a guest article for the Financial Times in autumn 2010, Draghi summed up his lessons from the global financial crisis: The crisis made it clear that risks had been underestimated and the extent of risk diversification had been overestimated. The bail-out of US investment bank Lehman Brothers will be the last of its kind because the public further government bailouts of this kind "will neither accept nor should accept" - the too-big-to-fail position some as systemically important eingeschätzter institutes in the Getting a grip is therefore the next key step in reforming the financial system. The ability of systemically important institutions to compensate for losses must meet significantly stricter requirements than the minimum standards that apply to all banks, and a global resolution regime must be designed for systemically important institutions. In addition, system-wide supervision must be strengthened in order to identify risks such as regulatory arbitrage in the shadow banking system , which played an important role in the financial market crisis, at an early stage.
At the beginning of 2011, Draghi urged the Italian banks to increase their own funds in view of the upcoming Europe-wide stress tests of the banking system. In the period that followed, a number of Italian banks took on additional capital, some of them considerable.
ECB Presidency (2011-2019)
Leading up to appointment
The Italian government publicly brought Draghi into play as his successor - almost two years before Jean-Claude Trichet's regular end of office - in September 2009, Foreign Minister Frattini spoke of an “honor” for Italy if Draghi succeeded Trichet. At the same time, there was also interest in the ECB presidency on the German side. Soon it was generally assumed that there would be a duel between Draghi and the then head of the Deutsche Bundesbank , Axel Weber . When Vítor Constâncio , another Southern European, became Vice President of the ECB at the beginning of 2010 , observers initially saw this as a damper for Draghi's chances for the top post. In February 2011, however, Weber surprisingly announced his premature resignation as President of the Bundesbank and confirmed a little later that he would not be available for the top office in the ECB either. As a result, considerations arose as to whether Germany should port another candidate - especially among the German population there were reservations about Draghi because of his Italian origins: the monetary policy of the Italian central bank, which is historically associated with devaluation and inflation , led some to suspect that Draghi would subject the ECB to a similar course and thus endanger the German economy. After the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble announced that he was not holding any new candidate, French President Nicolas Sarkozy officially backed Draghi's candidacy at the end of April. Two weeks later, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the German side would also support Draghi's application.
Beginning of June 2011. declared the Governing Council and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament support for Draghi. On June 24, 2011, the European Council decided to appoint the ECB President for an eight-year term. This was preceded by a dispute between the French and Italian governments. French President Sarkozy threatened to postpone Draghi's appointment to the end, because from now on two Italians, but no French, would be represented on the ECB's executive board. Apparently Sarkozy's support for Draghi was tied to a commitment by the Italian side to persuade the Italian board member Bini Smaghi to resign. Smaghi, whose term of office would not have ended until 2013, refused to step down for weeks, referring to the political independence of the ECB. Shortly before the EU summit, Sarkozy and Berlusconi also publicly announced their resignation, whereupon Smaghi finally relented and promised to leave the body at the end of the year. His successor was later Benoît Cœuré .
On November 1, 2011, Draghi assumed the presidency of the ECB.
Term of office
During the euro crisis, the banking system wavered and the yield premiums that some crisis-ridden euro countries had to pay on their bonds skyrocketed; The public feared a collapse of the European Monetary Union . At the height of the crisis, Draghi made a U-turn when he gave a speech in London on July 26, 2012, assuring that he would do “ whatever it takes ” to preserve the euro and , if necessary , buy government bonds announced by the ECB. This statement is considered to be a turning point in the crisis, as the financial markets calmed down as a result, see Draghi Effect . The announcement alone stabilized the financial markets. The question of whether these outright monetary transactions (OMT) are legally permissible and compatible with the mandate of the ECB has been a controversial issue in Germany. In 2015 it was affirmed by the European Court of Justice , followed by a conditional affirmation by the Federal Constitutional Court in 2016 .
Immediately before the parliamentary elections in Greece in January 2015, Draghi warned the governments of the euro zone that postponed structural reforms in this member state increased the risk of its exit from the euro.
According to the ECB
In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy at the end of April 2020, speculation arose that Draghi could replace Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and head a new technocratic government of "national unity" in the crisis. As a model is applicable Mario Monti , who took over the country's leadership during the financial crisis. The government was formed on February 12th.
honors and awards
- 2000: Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Grand Cross)
- 2020: Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Grand Cross)
- 2020: Antonio Feltrinelli Prize in the “International” category
Draghi was considered very reluctant to appear, interviews and self-portrayal during his time as ECB president. Draghi attended the Bilderberg Conference several times .
Draghi is a Catholic and an admirer of Ignatius of Loyola . He is married to Maria Serenella Cappello, an expert in English literature. The marriage resulted in two adult children.
During his candidacy for the ECB presidency in 2011, critical voices were raised that questioned Draghi's role in the disguise of the critical state of Greek public finances by the Greek government and Goldman Sachs with the help of off-market swaps . Draghi, who worked for Goldman Sachs in London from 2002 to 2005, denied any involvement in June 2011, saying these things happened before his time. In 2012, there were again voices that saw Draghi's previous work at Goldman Sachs in particular as a conflict of interest and his son Giacomo Draghi's work as an interest trader at Morgan Stanley in London. Following a ruling by the European Court of Justice on November 29, 2012, the ECB refused to publish documents containing details of the credit swaps.
At the beginning of 2013, Draghi came under fire in the wake of the scandals surrounding the Bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS): It became known that under Draghi's leadership as governor of the Italian central bank, the MPS was conducting extremely risky business and the central bank was still doing extremely risky business in October In 2011, the then stumbling MPS gave a securities-backed loan of 2 billion euros, but neither the public nor the Italian parliament informed about it. As a result of this secret rescue of the MPS, dubious securities junk ended up at the Italian central bank and the MPS received government bonds in return, the interest and debt of which is paid by the taxpayer. Draghi is accused of having laid the foundation for a European shadow banking system under the leadership of the national central banks - a system that was created primarily to protect commercial banks and their owners from bankruptcy or nationalization at the expense of taxpayers .
At this point in time, the ECB was on the verge of taking over banking supervision in the euro zone, following the Italian model.
Membership in the Group of Thirty
The membership of ECB President Draghi in the Group of Thirty (G30) was criticized for the first time in 2012 in a complaint by the Brussels anti-lobby group “Corporate Europe Observatory” (CEO). CEO identified a clear conflict of interest between the mandate and membership in a private financial lobby group. The then EU Ombudsman, Diamandouros, rejected the complaint on the grounds that the G30 was not a lobbying organization.
When the ECB took over banking supervision in November 2014, the CEO saw the conflict of interest heightened and filed another complaint. In January 2017, the Ombudsman ordered O'Reilly to investigate. In the final report, O'Reilly confirmed the conflict of interest and saw the independence of the ECB compromised. Furthermore, Draghi's membership in the G30 would not be in line with established international practice. She criticized the ECB's refusal to follow her recommendation and terminate Draghi's membership in the G30.
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- manager-magazin.de February 10, 2013: Monte dei Paschi - scandal bank gets billions in infusion
- ARD-Tagesschau: EU Ombudsman conducts investigation against ECB boss: “Group of Thirty” - a conflict of interest for Draghi? ( Memento from August 2, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
- Ombudsman: Mario Draghi's membership of Group of Thirty does not undermine ECB Independence ( Memento of July 10, 2018 in the Internet Archive )
- Final report of the EU Ombudsman (Case: 1697/2016 / ANA) ( Memento of July 10, 2018 in the Internet Archive )
|SHORT DESCRIPTION||Italian bank manager and politician|
|DATE OF BIRTH||September 3, 1947|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Rome|