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ECONOMY | 05-07-2024 13:43

Milei taps former Central Bank chief Federico Sturzenegger to deregulate Argentina

Federico Sturzenegger will lead a new Deregulation & State Transformation Ministry in President Javier Milei's government.

President Javier Milei officially tapped former Argentine central bank chief Federico Sturzenegger to completely revamp the government, after months of rumours swirling about the adviser’s arrival in Cabinet.

Sturzenegger, 58, will lead a new Deregulation & State Transformation Ministry, with the express purpose of further shrinking the national government’s footprint and cutting red tape.

The designation was formally announced in the Official Gazette just after midnight on Friday morning.

The new minister was the leading architect behind Milei’s original draft of structural reforms that passed Congress last week after six months of negotiations that watered down the legislation significantly. In his new role, he’ll be tasked with the optimisation and modernisation of Argentina in order to cut public spending and make the administration more efficient, according to the gazette. 

This is Sturzenegger’s third time in a key state position. He first held public office in 2001, when he had a brief stint as econonic policy secretary under former president Fernando de la Rúa. He returned from 2015 to 2018 to lead the Central Bank under former president Mauricio Macri. He holds a doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Sturzenegger’s new role sparked rumours around the fate of Economy Minister Luis Caputo, given tensions between the two during the 2018 financial crisis in Macri’s government, when Caputo was finance secretary and Sturzenegger led the monetary authority. Sturzenegger said his credibility had deteriorated before resigning amid a peso sell-off at the time, and Macri replaced him with Caputo, who only lasted a few months in the role. 

Since joining Milei’s government, both men have lauded each other. 

“We are completely compatible, he does something that is fundamental for the country and he does it better than anybody,” Caputo told reporters last week during a press conference, when asked about Sturzenegger’s arrival. “Argentina is a mess of obstacles and since we’re looking long-term, the most fundamental aspect is to unwind all of that.”

by Manuela Tobias, Bloomberg

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