MILAN/ROME (Reuters) - Italia’s economy minister wants to appoint top financial bureaucrat Alessandro Rivera, who helped manage the nation’s recent banking crisis, as head of the Treasury, which oversees one of Europe’s heaviest debt burdens, sources said.
Economy Minister Giovanni Tria, an academic before joining the new coalition government’s cabinet, prefers Rivera because of his experience and inside knowledge of Treasury, three sources close to the matter said on Friday.
Rivera runs legal affairs at the Treasury and, crucially, is responsible for government oversight of the banking system for the economy ministry. The top Treasury job of director-general has been vacant since shortly after the March 4 election.
Italy’s Treasury manages outstanding public debt of more than 2.3 trillion euros ($2.7 trillion), or roughly 130 percent of economic output, the heaviest debt burden among the euro zone’s major economies.
“Tria, in the face of suggestions from the two parties of the governing coalition, is demanding he choose independently the No. 2 at the ministry and is converging on the name of Rivera,” one source said.
The Treasury and Rivera declined to comment.
The appointment of Treasury director-general requires the government to sign off on the economy minister’s choice.
Tria, appointed early this month when Italian debt was under speculative attack over concerns about the new government’s euro-sceptic stance, had also considered veteran Treasury official Stefano Scalera for the position, sources said.
The government’s two coalition partners, the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement and far-right League, had been also considering equity markets head at Mediobanca (MDBI.MI), Antonio Guglielmi, for the director-general job..
“Tria met all three and opted for an internal solution. Rivera is ahead of Scalera,” a second source said.
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Editing by Stephen Jewkes and Mark Bendeich