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Interview with Jean-Claude Trichet

Jean-Claude Trichet

Chairman, Bruegel
Former President, European Central Bank; Former Governor, Banque de France


Jean-Claude Trichet is chairman of the Board of Directors of Bruegel. He is chairman of the Group of Thirty (Washington), European Chairman of the Trilateral Commission and President of SOGEPA (Société de Gestion des Participations aéronautiques) (Paris). He is a member of the « Institut de France » (Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques).

Born in Lyon, Jean-Claude Trichet is an honorary Inspecteur général des Finances and Ingénieur civil des Mines.He is a graduate of the Ecole nationale supérieure des Mines de Nancy, of the Institut d’études politiques de Paris, of the Université de Paris (in economics) and of the Ecole nationale d’administration. He worked in the competitive sector from 1966 to 1968. He was appointed to the Inspection générale des Finances in 1971.

He was assigned to various posts at the Ministry of Finance in the General Inspectorate of Finance and later in the Treasury Department, where in 1976 he became Secretary General of the Interministerial Committee for Improving Industrial Structures (CIASI).

Jean-Claude Trichet was made an adviser to the cabinet of the Minister of Economic Affairs in 1978, and then an adviser to the President of the Republic in the same year. In this capacity, he worked on issues relating to energy, industry, research and microeconomics from 1978 to 1981. He subsequently became Deputy Director of Bilateral Affairs at the Treasury Department from 1981 to 1984 and Head of International Affairs, also at the Treasury, and was Chairman of the Paris Club (sovereign debt rescheduling) from 1985 to 1993. In 1986 he directed the Private Office of the Minister of Economic Affairs, Finance and Privatisation. In 1987 he became Director of the Treasury. In the same year he was appointed Censor of the General Council of the Banque de France and Alternate Governor of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He was Chairman of the European Monetary Committee from 1992 until his appointment as Governor of the Banque de France in 1993. He was the Chairman of the Monetary Policy Council of the Banque de France as of 1994, a member of the Council of the European Monetary Institute from 1994 to 1998 and thereafter a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank. At the end of his first term as Governor of the Banque de France, he was reappointed for a second term.

Jean-Claude Trichet was elected Chairman of the Group of Ten (G10) Governors on 29 June 2003. He was elected President of the “Global economy meeting” of Central Bank governors and President of the Group of Governors and heads of supervision (GHOS) in Basel (until October 2011). He was appointed President of the European Central Bank on 16 October 2003 by common accord of the Governments of the Member States that have adopted the euro at the level of Heads of State or Government for a term of office of eight years starting on 1 November 2003 and ending 31 October 2011. Since late 2010 and until end of October 2011, Mr Trichet has also been Chairman of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB).

He was named “Person of the Year” by the Financial Times (2007), “Policymaker of the Year” twice by The International Economy magazine (1991 and 2007), and has received a number of awards, including the “Zerilli Marimo” prize from the Académie des Sciences morales et politiques (1999), the international “Pico della Mirandola” prize (2002), the “Prix franco-allemand de la Culture/Deutsch-Französischer Kulturpreis” (2006) and the “Ludwig Erhard Memorial Coin in Gold” (2007). He was also named “Central Banker of the Year” by The Banker (2008), “European Banker of the Year 2007” by The Group of 20 + 1 (2008), and “Central Bank Governor of the Year 2008” by Euromoney. He was awarded the 2011 International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen for his contribution to European unity and also received the 2011 Global Economy Prize from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by the universities of Liège, Stirling, Montréal, Tel Aviv, Bologne and Sofia. Jean-Claude Trichet is a Commandeur de la Légion d’honneur and a Commander of the National Orders of Merit in Austria, Belgium and Portugal. He has received the Commander’s Cross with star of the Order of Merit (Poland), the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau (the Netherlands) and the Grand Cross 1st class of the Order of Merit (Germany). He has also received honors from Argentina, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire and Ecuador.