Why has Linkiesta put forward an Italian economist to lead the BoE?

Why has Linkiesta put forward an Italian economist to lead the BoE?

Giorgio Arfaras, an Italian economist, has been proposed for the position of Governor of the Bank of England. Mr. Arfaras is the Director of Lettera Ecomomica at the Turin-based think tank Centro Einaudi, had previously worked at Credit Suisse and Pirelli for years and is currently among the main contributors of Linkiesta.

Actually, it was Linkiesta’s newsroom which has applied for him before the Monday deadline. For a simple reason: for shedding light on the way Italy selects the highest officers for authorities which are supposed to be neutral and independent. The process should be open and transparent, whereas, as shown in many of our reports, names are picked behind close doors and too many appointments are due to mere political connections and interests, rather than on the ground of competence and skills. Parliament is just called to ratify, the worst Italian byzantine politics is at work.

It was easy for us to apply for Mr Arfaras. We didn’t have to call any close friend in the City. Neither we had to call some bankers with whom we have «a friendship that has started almost twenty years ago» as the Tresury minister Vittorio Grilli said about his phone call with the banker Massimo Ponzellini, now under investigation, to get appointed at the helm of the Bank of Italy. Grilli didn’t invent this method. This is the usual method. For Mr. Arfaras the only thing we had to do was going on the website of the Cabinet Office and filling in a form. As explained also in the covering letter given by Mr. Arfaras:

I have never worked in the public sector, nor I have never sent a cv to the public sector or to the private one. I have got to know – for professional reasons as I was working in the private sector – the Italian public sector in the forms of the Bank of Italy or the Consob (the Italian equivalent of the Fsa). The people I met there were in office because they had won a public contest – and that is because they were working at a technical level.

I don’t know how one gets appointed as a Consob Commissioner. I think that if someone represents a valid choice, he can be listed among those who could be appointed because he/she’s known by someone who’s already “in the loop” who then gets in touch with him/her. I don’t think one could send a cv to run for the highest offices. Or better, it is possible do it, but this is not the official procedure – let’s say, I can clearly see the smile on the face of those opening the letters containing a cv…

Probably it’s a dada experiment, but to read the full Italian version click here.