FACTBOX-Possible successors to Hungarian central bank head Simor

Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:38pm GMT

Jan 10 (Reuters) - Following are possible candidates to become the next Hungarian central bank governor, based on Reuters sources and local media reports.

Governor Andras Simor's term ends on March 2 but Prime Minister Viktor Orban is expected to nominate his successor for a six-year term only at the last minute.

GYORGY MATOLCSY

Economy Minister Matolcsy, aged 57, is the architect of the Orban government's unorthodox and sometimes unpredictable economic policies. His ministry has often called for lower interest rates and more growth-friendly central bank policies.

Matolcsy is close to Orban's thinking and a loyalist. Many observers think the prime minister may overlook the likely negative market reaction to a Matolcsy appointment, believing it will not last long.

MIHALY VARGA

Varga, 47, the minister in charge of credit talks with the IMF and European Union, would be the preferred choice in financial markets if Orban decided to pick a politician, analysts say. As a former finance minister, he has the knowledge for the job. His soft-spoken style has won him strong support among voters and Orban may not want to lose Varga as a popular vice president of his Fidesz party before elections in 2014.

ANTAL ROGAN

Since founding the youth arm of Fidesz in 1996, Rogan (40) has had a remarkable political career: he leads the ruling party's parliamentary group and is mayor of Budapest's wealthy central district. He chaired parliament's economic committee for many years and has more knowledge about central bank matters than most politicians. But a six-year term at the bank may be too long a break from politics for Rogan.

ZSIGMOND JARAI

Jarai, 61, is a former stock exchange head, banker, finance minister and central bank governor. He has all the experience needed for a second term, and is popular among Fidesz followers.

As head of the central bank's supervisory committee, he has been a strong critic of Simor. Markets would receive him better than a politician. But Jarai has his own ideas about the bank and the economy that may not make him Orban's preferred choice.

KAROLY SZASZ

Szasz is president of the financial regulator PSZAF. An emblematic figure in the conservative camp, he was removed from his post by a Socialist government but reappointed under Orban.

Szasz held top jobs in several commercial banks and has experience in various fields including corporate lending. Sources said he is regarded as loyal to the government but he is driven by professional rather than political aspirations.

ISTVAN HAMECZ

Hamecz, who heads OTP Bank's fund management unit, has thorough knowledge of the economy and the central bank, where he was chief economist before Simor's governorship.

He is popular in markets and in Fidesz circles. But he also gave advice to former Socialist premier Ferenc Gyurcsany who is hated by conservatives. As a head of the central bank, he might be unwilling to bend his views under political orders.

GYORGY SURANYI

The law stipulates that nobody can be central bank governor three times and Suranyi is the only person in Hungary who held that post twice. A government proposal to amend the central bank law could signal that he might be candidate for the post.

Suranyi, 59, is respected in markets, and many of his ideas are close to Orban's thinking but his relations with Fidesz have been controversial, and he is an independent-minded economist.

ISTVAN TOROCSKEI

Torocskei, a banker and businessman appointed as CEO of the government management agency AKK in 2011, has the trust of the prime minister. As central bank head he could be open to radical policy changes but he may be too much involved in his personal business to implement deep changes at the bank, a source said.

HENRIK AUTH

Auth, 61, has had several jobs that linked him to former governor Zsigmond Jarai, including the post of his deputy.

A banker with the instincts of a bureaucrat rather than a politician, he has stayed away from public debate since he left the central bank in 2007. He is the head of state-owned credit guarantee company Garantiqa. (Reporting by Sandor Peto; editing by David Stamp)

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