ECB Is Said to Shortlist Three Candidates to Lead Bank Watchdog

(Bloomberg) -- The European Central Bank has narrowed the field of contenders to become its next head of banking supervision.

Sharon Donnery, deputy governor of the Irish central bank, European Banking Authority Chairman Andrea Enria, and the head of France’s market regulator Robert Ophele are on the shortlist to succeed Daniele Nouy when she steps down at the end of the year, according to a person familiar with the process.

Reuters earlier reported the shortlist.

The eventual winner will be tasked with pushing lenders to shrink their piles of bad credit and preparing for an influx of big investment banks when the U.K. leaves the European Union. Banks are watching the race for clues on whether Nouy’s successor will subject them to more or less intervention in their business models as regulators elsewhere lighten the load on lenders.

The ECB would prefer to choose a woman to address a gender imbalance at the central bank, euro-area officials with knowledge of the matter have previously said.

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Sharon Donnery, the first female deputy governor at the Irish central bank, is seen as a favorite by officials in at least two countries. Donnery has led the ECB’s task-force on non-performing loans and Nouy has praised her “very strong” supervisory background.

Robert Ophele, chairman of France’s Autorite des Marches Financiers, put his name forward for the post, without starting from pole position. France has some of the largest banks under the ECB’s watch, but Nouy is also French and the ECB may prefer a rotation between countries.

Andrea Enria has led the European Banking Authority, which drafts technical standards for regulating lenders, since 2011. His links to the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, which brings together regulators from across the globe, give him a useful international network. Yet, with Mario Draghi in charge of monetary policy at the ECB, appointing another Italian economist as chief of financial supervision could meet resistance from some governors.

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