(MENAFN- AFP) Cyprus on Tuesday appointed a tough campaigner against government waste and corruption as new central bank governor after current chief Panicos Demetriades unexpectedly quit.
Auditor general Chrystalla Georghadji has been appointed as new head of the Bank with effect from April 11, a government statement said.President Nicos Anastasiades earlier Tuesday ''contacted European Central Bank president Mario Draghi who was informed of the decision'', it said.Georghadji, 58, has been auditor general since 1998 with a brief to monitor public spending. In her annual reports she has highlighted and campaigned against unnecessary waste and corruption in public life.The former finance ministry official is the first woman to be appointed as the island's top banker.Demetriades, whose performance came under fire over the island's banking crisis last year, resigned on Monday.In a statement, Demetriades said: ''It is with mixed feelings that I have submitted my resignation from the post of Governor ... mainly for personal and family reasons.''
''During my tenure my actions were always aimed at ensuring confidence and stability in our financial system and I always acted in the best interests of our country,'' he added.Local media said the real reasons for his resignation were his unworkable relationship with a hostile central bank board and his continued confrontation with Anastasiades who tried to have him sacked last September.On Tuesday Anastasiades tried to play down his rift with the island's top banker saying Demetriades wanted to pursue his academic career rather than remain in the eye of the storm.''We may have had different approaches at some point but we should be judged on our accountability rather than empathy,'' Anastasiades told reporters.The resignation of Demetriades, 55, less than two years into the five-year job, takes effect on April 10, in keeping with the month's notice in his contract.Last September, Anastasiades criticised the governor's performance and said that he no longer had confidence in him.The rightist leader said he was seeking legal action to remove Demetriades, since under the Cyprus constitution a central bank governor can only be dismissed by the courts.Demetriades came under criticism for his handling of a 10-billion-euro ($13.8-billion) international bailout last year to rescue the island's banking system from collapse.The bank chief was at the helm during negotiations to navigate Cyprus through the crisis that led to Nicosia agreeing a painful bailout involving an unprecedented haircut on deposits.Cyprus shut its banks for two weeks during the bailout crisis and introduced strict capital controls which have been relaxed but are still in place.Anastasiades accused Demetriades of being slow to respond to the economic fallout.But the European central bank warned against political pressure on the governor, who refused to stand down.
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