A top ECB job change could give the next big clue about who will replace Mario Draghi

  • In the run up to the change in the presidency, in October of next year, there are a number of top jobs that Europe has to fill. These appointments will help to shed light on who will take the seat in Frankfurt.
  • Daniele Nouy, who currently chairs the SSM, is set to end her five-year mandate at the end of this year.
Daniele Nouy, Chair of the Supervisory Board of the Single Supervisory Mechanism, SSM, of the European Central Bank, ECB.
Daniel Roland | AFP | Getty Images
Daniele Nouy, Chair of the Supervisory Board of the Single Supervisory Mechanism, SSM, of the European Central Bank, ECB.

Markets are keen to discover who will next control monetary policy in the euro zone as the current president of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi approaches the end of his mandate.

Knowing who will be the next ECB president could bring a clearer understanding of the interest rate trajectory in the euro zone — a fundamental aspect for investors worldwide.

In the run up to the change in the presidency, in October of next year, there are a number of top jobs that Europe has to fill. These appointments will help to shed light on who will take the seat in Frankfurt.

For example, Luis de Guindos, former economy minister of Spain was appointed as vice-president of the ECB earlier this year. Several analysts suggested that the top job at the central bank might therefore go to a northern European, i.e. someone potentially more prone to raise rates faster.

A balance of nationalities is seen as crucial to the ECB's top management and therefore the next appointment to run the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) — the European institution that oversees banks in the euro zone — may provide another vital clue to Draghi's successor.

Daniele Nouy, who currently chairs the institution, is set to end her five-year mandate at the end of this year.

At the moment, there are three names on the table that could replace the French banking expert: Sharon Donnery, Ireland's central bank deputy governor; Andrea Enria, chair of the European Banking Authority; and Robert Ophele, president of the French banking regulator.

The European Parliament is reportedly more supportive of the two first names.

"Obviously both are excellent and well qualified candidates. However, the nationality will also definitely matter," Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING told CNBC via email.

"Given that Irish central bank governor (Philip) Lane has good chances to get a seat on the ECB's Executive Board next year, either as chief economist or even as president, the odds for Ms Donnery are lower," Brzeski said, adding that it is "hard to see two Irish nationals on two high-profile ECB jobs."

"Mr Enria has the clear advantage that ECB president Draghi leaves next year," he added, given that Enria is also an Italian citizen.

However, other analysts have different opinions about the frontrunners.

"Sharon Donnery is probably the front runner enjoying particular support among northern euro zone member states. She has taken a tough stance on banks having to run down their non-performing loans faster," Florian Hense, European economist at Berenberg told CNBC via email.

Hense also said the drive to improve gender balance in European institutions could boost the chances that Donnery will get the job.

"It comes down to as to how much Ireland will push Donnery, and is willing to probably sacrifice Philipp Lane's chances being appointed to the ECB's Executive Board, likely as succeeding Chief Economist Praet," Hense said.

The European Central Bank did not want to comment on when the bank will be voting on the new SSM leader. However, the Financial Times has reported that the ECB will carry the vote on November 7th. The chosen candidate will then have to be approved by the European Parliament.