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Last Updated: Monday, 16 January 2006, 16:30 GMT
New Italian bank boss starts work
Mario Draghi, Governor of the Bank of Italy
Mr Draghi is seen as being more friendly to foreign competition
Mario Draghi has begun work as Governor of the Bank of Italy, aiming to restore confidence in an organisation badly damaged by a recent takeover scandal.

Mr Draghi was appointed last month as successor to Antonio Fazio, who quit after prosecutors began investigating him because of fraud allegations.

Mr Fazio is alleged to have favoured a domestic firm in a fierce bid battle to keep a top bank in Italian hands.

Analysts expect Mr Draghi to oversee an opening up of the banking sector.

Respected figure

A number of foreign firms are looking to enter Italy's banking market, which has historically resisted overseas competition.

Draghi has all the qualities necessary to head the Bank of Italy authoritatively in the next years
Giorgio La Malfa, Europe minister

Prior to his appointment, Mr Draghi had been working for investment bank Goldman Sachs.

However, in the 1990s he played a key role in shaping the Italian economy as director general of the Treasury, leading analysts to regard him as a safe pair of hands.

"After all that happened at the Bank of Italy over the past months, one must hope Mario Draghi will be a turning point," Italy's Europe minister Giorgio La Malfa was quoted as saying by the Apcom news agency.

"Draghi has all the qualities necessary to head the Bank of Italy authoritatively in the next years."

Mr Draghi will serve a six-year term, unlike his predecessor who was appointed for life.

Following sharp criticism of Mr Fazio's handling of the bid battle for Banca Antonveneta - ultimately won by Dutch firm ABN Amro - legislators changed the Governor's term of office and powers.

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29 Dec 05 |  Business
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