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Development bank EBRD to shake up top positions

[LONDON] The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is set for a major shake-up of its top management including giving bigger portfolios to the bank's second and third in command.

The moves are designed to encourage the development of the bank as an adviser as well as investor.

The London-based bank will shift its main investment and policy divisions under its First Vice President Philip Bennett from the United States, who will also extend his stay at the bank until the end of next year.

Finance chief and former Hungarian central bank head, Andras Simor, will also see his role beefed up with the addition of a chief operating officer remit.

"It means investment and policy work will be tied even closer together," the EBRD's head of communications, Jonathan Charles told Reuters. "It's because we recognise that if we want to and get systematic and systemic change in these countries it requires more than just investing in them, we have to also bring in the policy reform advice."

The changes are due to come into force on Nov 15 and will also see France's Alain Pilloux, who has had an acting vice president of policy role since February, take a position under Bennett as vice president of Banking.

Three of the bank's other vice presidents - there are currently five in total - will see their positions rejigged slightly and report either to Bennett or Simor rather than the bank's President Suma Chakrabarti as at the moment.

Mr Chakrabarti meanwhile will see a 'central services'division, that includes the bank's chief economist and general council kept under his wing.

Though the EBRD is fully international, owned by countries from the United States and Japan to Russia and China, for most of its 25-year history it was headed by officials from either France or Germany to balance the decision to base it in London.

That changed in 2012 when Britain's Mr Chakrabarti took the helm as part of a complex reshuffle at the top of many of Europe's institutions and Britain's vote to quit the European Union has seen some mainland European countries making behind-the-scenes noises about regaining some influence.