ECB's Bini Smaghi to step down
LORENZO Bini Smaghi will resign from the European Central Bank's executive board at the end of the year, after fellow Italian Mario Draghi became the central bank's president earlier this month.
Mr Bini Smaghi, whose term officially ends in May 2013, will join Harvard University's Centre for International Affairs on January 1, the ECB said.
"President Mario Draghi warmly thanks Mr Bini Smaghi for his contributions in the field of European and international monetary and economic affairs over many years," the ECB statement said.
"Throughout his mandate, including in taking his decision, Mr Bini Smaghi has upheld the independence of the ECB."
Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had stepped up pressure on Mr Bini Smaghi to quit recently in a bid to defuse a row with French President Nicolas Sarkozy over the Italian's seat on the central bank's six-member executive board.
Mr Sarkozy had backed Mr Draghi's candidacy to head the central bank on the condition that Mr Berlusconi get Mr Bini Smaghi to step aside to make way for a French candidate and avoid leaving the board with two Italians when Frenchman Jean-Claude Trichet finishes his term. (Bloomberg)