Business How Christine Lagarde breaks the taboos of the European...

How Christine Lagarde breaks the taboos of the European Central Bank

After a much criticized start-up delay, which amplified the stock market crash in mid-March, the ECB passed the overdrive.

Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank (ECB).
Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank (ECB). Vincent Kessler / REUTERS

In Frankfurt, the tower of the European Central Bank (ECB) has taken on ghostly appearances. The majority of the 3000 employees, excluding “critical” functions (trading, IT, payments) have been put into telework. However, the institution has never been so overheated since the eurozone crisis eight years ago.

Confined to the edge of the Main, its president Christine Lagarde manages the crisis alternately between the headquarters and her home, her eyes riveted on her two iPads and two phones. The six members of the Management Board meet almost daily, by rotation: three physically present, three by videoconference. Not easy when half of them – Lagarde, the German Isabel Schnabel and the Italian Fabio Panetta – are newcomers. Together, they dissect the solutions developed by the technical teams, before submitting them to the governors. The nineteen representatives of national central banks are also brought together by Webex secure videoconference

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