Otmar Issing

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Former Chief Economist of the European Central Bank

For almost 20 years Otmar Issing (born in 1936) has been one of the most influential European central bankers, being member of the executive boards of the German Central Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank), and being Chief Economist and member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank. From October 2008, Issing leads the think-tank of the federal government for a reformation of the international financial markets. He argues for a similar board in the European Commission.

He studied economics at the universities of Würzburg (Germany), London and Paris and obtained his Phd on Monetary Problems within the European Union. He was a professor for economics at the university of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany), and visiting professor at the university of Michigan in Ann Arbor. For several projects he joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington D.C.

The Federal German Government called him into his most important economic advisory board in 1988. Shortly after that he became the chief economist and member of the executive board of the German Central Bank.

In 1998 he joined President Wim Duisenberg as a member of the executive board at the European Central Bank, he is the only member who has been voted for the maximum period of eight years in office. He retired from the ECB in May 2006.

Like nobody else Otmar Issing has been responsible for the European monetary policy. He prepared all decisions on change of interest rates on European level and is known for being the architect of the ‘Two Column Strategy’: Economic indicators as well as monetary criteria (i.e. growth of money supply) have to be considered for any decisions on interest rates.

Otmar Issing holds honorary doctorates of several universities, and he is the author and publisher of important economic literature (Monetary Policy in the Euro Area, Cambridge University Press, 2001).

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