13 March 2014 15:15

Outgoing Central Bank chief Panicos Demetriades held his first meeting on Wednesday with his successor Chrystalla Georghadji to enable a smooth takeover at a time the bailed-out economy needs strong governorship.
Georghadji - the first woman to get the job - said the biggest challenge was to restore trust to the beleaguered banking sector which she is confident of doing.
"I am convinced we can once again restore credibility to the banking sector and the wider economy," Georghadji told reporters yesterday.
"This job is not the work of one person, but everyone. This institution is entitled to acquire the prestige and trust it has had all these years…and I take the support of colleagues on the board and staff at the Central Bank as a given," she added.
Her briefing on the task ahead was held in a 'friendly atmosphere' with more getting to know the job sessions expected in the coming days and weeks before Demetriades officially departs on April 10.
Auditor-General Georghadji was appointed Tuesday as the new governor of the Central Bank, closing out a year-long dispute that had pitted President Anastasiades against the bank's embattled, outgoing chief.
Georghadji will take up her new post on April 11 and the European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi has been informed.
The appointment came a day after Demetriades resigned for what he said were mainly "personal and family reasons".
Anastasiades was highly critical of Demetriades' handling of last year's rescue deal with other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund.
The deal included seizing some bank deposits and crushed the financial sector.
The President even threatened to begin legal proceedings to oust Demetriades for failing to do his job properly, a move that prompted the ECB to question whether the Central Bank's independence was being attacked.
Demetriades, who was appointed by previous president Demetris Christofias, had vowed not to quit for fear of becoming a lightning rod for the country's economic woes. He said in a brief statement Tuesday that he "always acted in the best interests of our country".
Anastasiades dismissed opposition party suggestions that Demetriades' departure after only serving a third of his five-year tenure was engineered by the government in order to give it full control over the Central Bank.
Anastasiades said Demetriades' resignation "made it easier for the government and himself".
Attorney-General Costas Clerides said his decision not to prosecute a case involving the alleged forgery of a contract that Demetriades signed with consultancy firm Alvarez & Marsal were in no way connected to the resignation.
Georghadji, 57, has held the post of Auditor-General since 1998 after stints at the finance ministry and securities and exchange commission.



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