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Top official calls for more women in ECB leadership roles

Frankfurt am Main

THE European Central Bank should bring more women into leadership jobs to improve gender balance, the only female member of the powerful institution's board told AFP.

"I'm convinced that diversity in management positions is an intelligent idea to pursue," Sabine Lautenschlaeger said.

Ms Lautenschlaeger's appeal follows the ECB's early November vote in favour of a male candidate, Italy's Andrea Enria, to succeed banking supervision chief Daniele Nouy from next year.

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Mr Enria, currently head of the European Banking Authority (EBA) - which crafts the banking regulations supervisors enforce - was chosen over Irishwoman Sharon Donnery, and was last week confirmed in the new job by the European Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee (Econ).

But several European sources said they were "shocked" when during the selection process Econ chair Roberto Gualtieri wrote a letter to the ECB praising Mr Enria's wealth of experience - while appearing to suggest the fact that Ms Donnery is a woman was her main qualification.

As for Ms Lautenschlaeger, she will in February leave her job as vice-president of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) - the ECB's banking supervision arm - in favour of one of the men on the board.

"I hope our ratio of women in central banking, as well as in banking supervision, will increase," the German central banker told AFP.

The ECB pledged early this year to step up efforts to hire more female staff. It was still short of its stated goal of one in four high-level management posts held by women, with the figure at just 17 per cent at the end of 2017. AFP