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The 7 Lives of Mario Draghi

Posted Jul 21, 2022, 5:34 PMUpdated on Jul 21, 2022 at 5:44 PM

The providential man has fallen. Having arrived at the head of Italy a year ago, Mario Draghi immediately appeared as a respected figure in the political sphere, without even having won an elective mandate. As the country becomes entangled in the health and economic crisis by extension, all hopes are placed in the economist who held Europe at arm’s length during the debt crisis in 2012.

Weakened in recent weeks, Mario Draghi was already approaching the exit. The verdict of the vote of confidence was finally favorable to him, with 95 “yes” against 38. But the silence of several parties of his coalition, the populists of the 5 Star Movement, the extreme right of La Ligue like his right wing ally Forza Italia , will have been decisive for him. This refusal to line up around a “pact” of government signs the disunity, and the resignation of its leader.

A look back at a few key dates on Mario Draghi’s busy career.

1975: Professor Draghi

Freshly graduated from MIT in Boston, where he rubbed shoulders with Nobel laureates Paul Samuelson, Robert Solow and Franco Modigliani, Mario Draghi returns to his native land. In 1975, the University of Trento opened its doors to him as a professor.

There followed an academic trajectory in several renowned establishments, the universities of Padua, Venice and Florence, where he worked as a professor of economics and monetary policy.

1984: From university to the World Bank

Mario Draghi left the university benches for the post of administrator of the World Bank in 1984. For six years, he represented Italy within the financial institution. A first rapprochement with the high governmental, transalpine and international spheres.

1991: First steps in the ministry

He continued his conquest of the financial world as Director General of the Treasury from 1991. Under his aegis, a wave of privatization swept across Italy. Telecom Italia, Autostrade or even the oil company, ENI, are going public. But the recession is hitting the country. Mario Draghi is betting on a contested policy to turn around the situation: creation of taxes, devaluation and cuts in public spending. He will also play a key role in the introduction of the euro in Italy.

2002: The investment banker

Between 2002 and 2005, Mario Draghi left the Italian Treasury in favor of the American investment bank Goldman Sachs. He became vice-president for Europe there.

2006: All Roads Lead to Rome

After a surprise departure from Goldman Sachs, Mario Draghi was made Governor of the Bank of Italy by Silvio Berlusconi, then Chairman of the Board. An institution caught in the middle of a scandal. At the end of his mandate, Mario Draghi gains a certain popularity. The governor has not only put the institution back on its feet, he is applauded for having saved the banking sector from the crisis.

From 2010, the financial crisis turned into a sovereign debt crisis within the euro zone.Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP/SIPA

1er November 2011: “Super Mario” at the ECB

A success that brings him to the direction of the European Central Bank (ECB). This function will call it “Super Mario”. Faced with a sovereign debt crisis, the new director executes a masterstroke. He declares giving the ECB an unprecedented role: lender of last resort. The institution assumes its role as guardian of the euro.

Mario Draghi will however remain for some detractors, the “Count Draghila”, responsible for low interest rates. And for good reason, he shakes up the polished institution with a bold policy. For the first time, key rates are entering negative territory. His move to Goldman Sachs is also fueling criticism. Chance of the calendar, at the same time in fact, the American bank engaged in dubious financial operations aimed at disguising the Greek public accounts.

February 13, 2021: at the head of the Italian government

At the end of 2020, when a political crisis paralyzed the country, following the departure of Giuseppe Conte, the providential man was once again called to the rescue. Mario Draghi becomes head of the Italian government with a mission, already successful before: to get Italy out of the crisis.

He surrounds himself with a coalition of disparate political backgrounds, ranging from the Democratic Party to the far right. Bringing these antagonistic sides together was a first feat. Until this last crisis, which therefore led to its downfall.

VIDEO. The fabulous destiny of Mario Draghi in 5 key dates

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