Even though Mario Draghi’s personality has had a profound impact on the way the ECB communicates and therefore acts, it is important to point out that it is a small team within the ECB Executive Board that has led the major changes in the monetary policy since 2011/2012 (first multi-year LTRO, 7 rate cuts, negative rates, Quantative Easing program). Among the architects of this policy are, of course, ECB President Mario Draghi, but also the vicepresident Vitor Constâncio, the chief economist Peter Praet and Benoit Coeuré. The mandates of these four members of the Executive Board took or will take an end between May 2018 and December 2019. Vitor Constâncio has already been replaced by the former Spanish Finance Minister Luis de Guindos. But the positions of Draghi, Praet and Coeuré will be filled by the end of the year, their terms ending respectively on October 31, May 31 and December 31.
Recall the procedure for appointing the members of the Executive Board: the member states of the eurozone propose candidates for positions to be filled and then the Eurogroup (finance ministers of the eurozone) makes a choice. Once a candidate has been chosen, the European Council consults both the European Parliament and the Governing Council of the ECB before appointing it to the Executive Board. The appointment of members to the ECB Executive Board is therefore very political.
Several balances are to be respected, in particular, the different nationalities present. Since the creation of the ECB, the four major eurozone countries (Germany, France, Italy, Spain) have almost always had a member on the Executive Board. France did not have a representative from June 2002 to November 2003 but a tacit agreement wanted Wim Duisenberg to give up his position as President of the ECB at the mid-term in favor of Jean-Claude Trichet. Spain did not have a representative on the Board between June 2012 and June 2018, and it is interesting to note that the first appointment to the Executive Board since 2014 went to a Spaniard (Luis De Guindos). An implicit rule would therefore be that the four big countries are almost always represented. With the exception of November and December 2011, there have never been two nationals from the same country on the Executive Board (Lorenzo Bini Smaghi and Mario Draghi). After Draghi, Praet and Coeuré’s departure, the three remaining members will be Luxembourgish (Yves Mersch), German (Sabine Lautenschläger) and Spanish (Luis de Guindos), which in turn favors the appointment of a French national.