Former president accepts helm at central bank

  • 2000-06-15
  • By Kairi Kurm
TALLINN - President Lennart Meri named Vahur Kraft the president of
the Bank of Estonia on June 7 on the basis of the proposal of the
Board of the Bank of Estonia. Vahur Kraft was appointed for the post
of the governor of the central bank for the second time. His last
term ended in mid-April this year. His appointment came after two
candidates warmed the president's seat briefly and then departed.

Kraft received five votes for and three against from the council of
the bank. "His strength lies in his experience in this field," said
councilor Juri Sepp, who had proposed Kraft's candidacy.

"It [experience] is very important now after this big mess [in
finding the right candidate]. It is sometimes necessary to bring new
people into the company. This time we did not succeed in finding a
new leader and another attempt would have been illicit. Kraft is the
best man to restore stability," said Sepp.

Kraft, 39, was appointed for the post of the governor on the third
attempt after the council's first candidate Vello Vensel resigned due
to health problems and the second candidate, ex-Finance Minister Mart
Opmann, was rejected by Meri.

Kraft told journalists at his first press conference as president of
the central bank that he would like to increase central bank's
transparency and favors the president's idea to support the
development of innovation in the society through founding a state
resource and development fund with the help of the central bank.

Several media sources claim that Meri had preferred the first
candidate Vensel to Kraft in the job of governor of the Bank of
Estonia because Vensel favored Meri's SITRA-type innovation fund
idea. SITRA is an innovation fund in Finland set up by the Bank of
Finland to finance technology projects.

"I am glad that this soap opera kind of action around the Bank of
Estonia is over," said Kraft, who returned to the bank after the
first defeat to save the bank's image.

Kraft graduated from Tartu University in 1984 with a degree in
finance and credit. He worked for six years as branch manager at
Eesti Hoiupank, one year as vice chairman of the board at Eesti
Sotsiaalpank and five years as the president in the Bank of Estonia.