France's Renaud-Basso becomes next EBRD president

FILE PHOTO: Odile Renaud-Basso is pictured leaving the Elysee Palace June 26, 2013 in Paris, France. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - French Treasury head Odile Renaud-Basso has been elected president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the bank said on Thursday, the first woman and fourth French national to hold the post.

The multilateral development bank was set up in 1991 to invest in the ex-communist economies of eastern Europe and is majority owned by the G7 economic powers. It now operates in 38 economies, chiefly in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and central Asia.

Renaud-Basso was widely expected to win the vote against Poland’s Finance Minister Tadeusz Koscinski after fellow front runner, Italy’s former Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, pulled out of the race.

“It is a great honour for me to have been elected as the new President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a truly unique institution,” Renaud-Basso said.

“I look forward to working with all shareholders, the management and the staff in the coming months, to implement the ambitious roadmap that was just agreed at the Annual Meeting.”

Renaud-Basso’s appointment confirms France’s dominance at the top of international institutions. France has provided four of the eight presidents at the EBRD, half of the four president at the European Central Bank (ECB) and nearly half of all managing directors at the International Monetary Fund.

As Director General at the French Treasury, Renaud-Basso has overseen the development of the country’s economic policies, leading on European and international financial affairs, trade policies, financial regulation and debt management.

In this position, she also served as Vice-President of the European Economic and Financial Committee and deputy to the G7 and G20 groups while she also holds the chair of the Paris Club.

Renaud-Basso is an alumna of the prestigious Ecole Nationale d’Administration, which has for decades churned out presidents, ambassadors and industry leaders.

Reporting by Karin Strohecker; Editing by Tom Arnold and Philippa Fletcher