Search Is On for the Next Philippines Central Bank Governor

(Bloomberg) -- The Philippines president will soon be choosing a new central bank governor following the death of Nestor Espenilla, with potential candidates ranging from insiders to private-sector bankers.

President Rodrigo Duterte will be given a list of possible successors to Espenilla, who died on Feb. 23 after a battle with cancer. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, who will submit the names to the president, said on Wednesday it will be an “inclusive” set of candidates.

Deputy Governor Cyd Tuano-Amador is currently the officer-in-charge of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas until Duterte appoints a new acting chief or a successor to serve the remainder of Espenilla’s six-year term which ends around mid-2023.

Search Is On for the Next Philippines Central Bank Governor

Here’s a snapshot of potential candidates for governor, based on the views of central bank watchers.

The Deputies:

  • Cyd Tuano-Amador, 62, heads BSP’s corporate services division as well as communications strategy. One of its two female deputy governors, Tuano-Amador returned in 2017 after taking early retirement in 2014 when she was assistant governor for monetary policy. She was seconded to the International Monetary Fund from 2003-2006. She has a doctorate in economics from the Australian National University and a Master’s degree from the University of the Philippines School of Economics
  • Chuchi Fonacier, 58, is the deputy governor in charge of financial supervision. She started her career as a bank examiner in 1984 and worked her way up the ranks. An accountant, Fonacier helped lobby for laws to develop the banking system, and also encouraged mergers and acquisitions of and among the nation’s smaller banks
Search Is On for the Next Philippines Central Bank Governor
  • Diwa Guinigundo, 64, is the most well-known of the deputies to international investors. He heads the monetary and economics division, and advises the monetary board on key issues such as the setting of interest rates and foreign exchange policies. A graduate of the London School of Economics, he started his central banking career in 1978 and has been a deputy governor since 2005. He has recently been vocal about the need to be cautious in easing monetary policy

Monetary Board

  • Peter Favila, 70, was appointed to a six-year term as a monetary board member in 2017, having previously served on it from 2008 to 2014. A former trade secretary from 2005 to 2010, Favila was also chairman and president of the Philippine Stock Exchange and president of Philippine National Bank and Security Bank Corp. He majored in banking and finance from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and took an advanced management program from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Private Sector

  • Antonio Moncupa, 60, is vice chairman and chief executive of East West Banking Corp. He’s a 30-year veteran in the banking industry and long-time officer of the Bankers Association of the Philippines or BAP. He has an accounting degree from De La Salle University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago. He was jailed in the 1980s under martial law, accused of rebellion. He’s currently a member of Duterte’s political party
  • Aurelio Montinola, 67, worked at the Bank of the Philippine Islands for 31 years, the last eight of which was as president and chief executive. Under his leadership, the Ayala-led bank acquired Prudential Bank and the local trust business of ING Groep NV. He also served as president of the BAP. He’s now chairman of Far Eastern University which his family owns
  • Nestor Tan, 60, is the president of BDO Unibank Inc., the country’s largest bank by assets, and the influential BAP. He is one of the longest-serving bank presidents in the country, taking the helm at BDO in 1998 in the wake of the Asian financial crisis. He previously worked in the investment banking unit of Barclays Plc and other foreign financial institutions. He holds a commerce degree from De La Salle University and a Master in Business Administration from Wharton School

Wild Cards

  • Carlos Dominguez, 73, is Duterte’s finance secretary and the Cabinet’s representative on the Monetary Board. He is one of the president’s most trusted officials and the main driver of the government’s push to scale back business incentives while lowering tax rates. He oversaw the passage of a tax reform law to help boost government revenue for infrastructure spending
Search Is On for the Next Philippines Central Bank Governor
  • Gloria Arroyo, 71, was Philippine president from 2001 to 2010, and currently speaker of the House of Representatives. Her term ends in June. Shortly after Duterte took office in 2016, she was freed after serving almost five years in hospital detention for charges related to election fraud and corruption. In July, lawmakers loyal to Duterte voted for Arroyo, an economics professor, to lead the lower legislative chamber. She was quoted by a local media this week as saying that talks about her becoming central bank chief is “hypothetical”

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