Central Bank’s Sharon Donnery seeks top ECB banking job

Move may scupper chances of Philip Lane joining the institution’s executive board

Sharon Donnery, deputy governor of the Central Banking has applied for top ECB job.

Sharon Donnery, deputy governor of the Central Banking has applied for top ECB job.


Central Bank deputy governor Sharon Donnery has applied for the position of chairwoman of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) banking supervision arm in a move that may scupper the chances of her boss, Philip Lane, joining the Frankfurt institution’s executive board next year.

Ms Donnery put her name forward ahead of a deadline on Friday for candidates to chair the ECB’s Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) as the term of French woman Daniele Nouy, the first holder of the position, comes to an end in December. The SSM took over the supervision of euro-zone banks in late 2014.

Ms Donnery, an economist who joined the Central Bank in 1996, is seen as well placed to get the position, as she chairs the SSM’s work on non-performing loans across euro-zone lenders, and the ECB is reported by Bloomberg News to be keen to appoint another woman. Potential rivals for the role reportedly include Elisa Ferreira, vice-governor of the Portuguese central bank.

If Ms Donnery is successful in her candidacy, it is unlikely that the Government will secure a much-sought-after ECB executive position for Philip Lane as Peter Praet, the organisation’s chief economist, retires next May.

However, sources say Prof Lane is supportive of Ms Donnery’s application and that the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, remains committed to putting him forward for the executive board next year.

Two top roles

Ireland is the only founding member of the euro zone not to have held an executive board seat at the ECB. Sources have said that it is highly unlikely that a small country like Ireland would hold two top ECB roles at the same time.

The Government withdrew Prof Lane as a candidate for the vice-presidency of the ECB in February as the only other person in the race, economy minister Luis de Guindos, had lined up more votes among European colleagues.

Still, members of the European Parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee said at the time that Prof Lane’s technical expertise on monetary policy shone through as they grilled both candidates in the final stages of the process.

A slew of changes at the top of the ECB in the near future will culminate in the scheduled departure of the organisation’s president, Mario Draghi, at the end of next year. Jens Weidman, president of Germany’s Bundesbank, and Bank of England governor Erkki Liikanen have both expressed an interest in the job.