The Business On... Mario Draghi, Governor, Bank of Italy

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The Independent Online

But not for much longer we hear?

You have been paying attention. Mr Draghi is indeed scenting victory in his long campaign to become President of the European Central Bank when Jean-Claude Trichet quits in November. Even the Germans are onside – despite Bild's previous warning that "For Italians, inflation is a way of life, like tomato sauce with spaghetti" – with Angela Merkel signalling her support yesterday.

Who are his rivals for the job?

That's the thing – there aren't any. Germany's Axel Weber, at one stage thought to be the front-runner, said last month he didn't want it. France, the other big power in the eurozone, has already thrown his weight behind Mr Draghi.

So what can we expect from him?

A steady hand. Mr Draghi has been widely praised for his term at the Bank of Italy. And the Italian reputation for inflation notwithstanding, his credentials are impeccable – he's been a respected economist, academic and banker for more than three decades. He's also renowned as a consensus builder, which is what the eurozone likes.

One of Italy's ruling elite?

These days, yes, but he has earned his place. He grew up in a middle class family in Rome – his father worked in finance and his mother was a chemist – but lost his parents in his teenage years and was brought up by an aunt. Fiercely bright, he was the first Italian to get a doctorate from MIT and then returned to Italy to teach for a number of years. He's worked for the World Bank and also had a spell at Goldman Sachs, which some expected to count against his ECB candidacy in these times of banker bashing.

Anything else?

We can't dispense with the Italian cliché altogether – Mr Draghi is always beautifully dressed. He's also much less stuffy than Mr Trichet and plays a mean round of golf. During a long period in the Treasury he earned the nickname Super Mario for the way in which he steered the country into the single currency just a few years after Italy had come within an inch of defaulting on its debt repayments.