Odds on favorite to replace Smolii at central bank is Serhiy Kruglyk– Mykhailo Kukhar

Serhiy Kruglyk, who headed the National Bank of Ukraine’s International Department for more than a decade and oversaw the central bank’s relations with the IMF and World Bank, has best chances replace Yakiv Smolii has central bank governor, according to Ukraine Economic Outlook Chief Economist Mykhailo Kukhar.

Kyrylo Shevchenko (Ukrgasbank chairman) and Bohdan Danylyshyn (NBU Council Chairman) were formerly favorites, but the President’s Office, during consultations with our western partners in international financial organizations, received very negative assessments of both candidates. Alternative candidates are now urgently being considered,” Kukhar said.

Volodymyr Lavrenchuk (Head of Raiffeisenbank-Aval) was proposed as a candidate, but according to my information, he refused. So far, the choice has been narrowed down to three candidates who have Washington’s full approval in advance: Dmytro Solohub (member of the NBU board), Vladyslav Rashkovan (Alternative Executive Director at the IMF) and Kruglyk (headed the NBU’s international department under four NBU governors),” Kukhar said. He added the final candidate will like be the one whose reputation was not soiled working under former NBU Governor Valeria Hontareva, Smolii and former President Petro Poroshenko.

Given that Rashkovan came to the NBU with Hontareva, and, in fact, got a job in Washington, representing the interests of this team, and Solohub was a member of the board under both Hontareva and Smolii, responsible for the NBU’s monetary policy, especially last year, for which Smolii was criticized last year and resigned, Kruglyk, whose candidacy has not publicly been discussed by the press, has the best chances,” Kukhar said.

Kruglyk worked in various positions at the NBU and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1993 to 2016. In 2000, he was the Representative of Ukraine at the Paris Club of creditors during the restructuring of Ukraine’s foreign debt. For more than 10 years, he headed the central bank’s international department and the department of international banking relations.

For 25 years, as a representative from Ukraine, he participated in the largest number of annual summits of central bankers organized by the IMF and the World Bank. Kruglyk has extensive personal connections in the international banking circles. “The situation with consultations with the IMF and the World Bank regarding the candidate for the head of the NBU is now quite tense. And it seems to me that the President’s Office will unequivocally choose the candidate that will disrupt the current IMF program with Ukraine. That risk exists today. But Kruglyk has an impeccable reputation in international financial organizations, I would even say even better than most Ukrainian bankers. He worked 15 years at the NBU and left as a result of a personal conflict with Hontareva and Rashkovan. Therefore, in my opinion, he is the ideal candidate,” Kukhar said.

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