Gontareva's successor: Who will lead the National Bank of Ukraine

Author : Yaroslav Konoshchuk

Among the possible candidates are acting NBU chairman Smoliy, former PM Yatsenyuk, and even Polish ex-Minister of Finance Leszek Balcerowicz
17:59, 27 December 2017

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For many months, search for a successor for Valeria Gontareva (ex-head of the National Bank, NBU) has been in process. According to our sources in the Presidential Administration, this place was offered to the ex-Minister of Finance of Poland Leszek Balcerowicz. However, he declined the offer. Olexander Shlapak was also chosen as the candidate for the post, but the latter denied this information. In November, the first deputy chairman of "Petro Poroshenko Bloc" faction Igor Kononenko noted that Petro Poroshenko was thinking of Yakiv Smoliy (current acting head of the NBU), as well as the head of "Raiffeisen Bank Aval" Volodymyr Lavrenchuk.

Related: NBU bans transactions with Russian banknotes that have pictures of annexed Sevastopil on them

According to sources in the Presidential Administration, the candidacy of Lavrenchuk was supported by the International Monetary Fund representatives. Sources from the parliament sidelines say that the chairman of the board of one of the largest banks of Ukraine has already been “tested” by Washington. Lavrenchuk himself says that he is interested in working in the Central Bank.

Related: What to expect for economy of Ukraine in 2018

December 18th, Olexiy Goncharenko, the deputy chairman of the "Petro Poroshenko Bloc" faction, said, after a meeting of the conciliation board of faction and group leaders, that "On Thursday, December 21st, the Council may consider the appointment of the NBU chairman," without specifying the surname of the applicant. As it turned out later, they negotiated on acting chairman Yakiv Smoliy. However, there were not enough votes for this candidacy, because neither People’s front faction nor Lyashko’s Radical Party was ready to vote, as well as Batkivshchyna and Samopomich.

At a meeting of "Petro Poroshenko Bloc" faction, it was announced that the issue of appointment of the new NBU chairman would not be considered because the question was "toughly blocked by the People's Front."

Related: Four years after Maidan: What happened to the Ukrainian economy

According to the sources of, the leader of People's Front Yatsenyuk has been negotiating about his own appointment as chairman of the NBU. Previously, the former prime minister himself stated that the National Bank should be headed by a competent and apolitical person.

According to the sources of in the coalition factions, a compromise option was also discussed during the negotiations on the NBU chairman appointment. It was expected that People's Front would receive posts of two deputy chairmen of the National Bank. However, this condition was also not accepted.

Thus, despite the expectations of parliamentary speaker Andriy Parubiy and Igor Kononenko, the country would start the new 2018 year without the National Bank chairman.

Related: Economic forecast for Ukraine: Hryvnia weakening, high inflation and tarrifs

As was reported before, Gontareva has resigned in April 2017. ‘After staying in this office for almost 3 years, I decided to leave. I handed the President my resignation letter, according to which, the resignation would take effect on May 10th. I’m announcing this a month before the actual resignation, but if the parliament votes for it earlier, I’ll leave earlier. I’m ready to report on the results of my work over the mentioned period,’ Gontareva said.

Gontareva, formerly the leader of ICU consortium, was appointed te Head of the National Bank in June 2014.

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