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Central bank governor of the year 2004: Alfonso Prat-Gay

In 20 months as governor, Alfonso Prat-Gay built a credible central bank from almost nothing, managed the money supply brilliantly, oversaw currency stability, kept rates low and even began whipping the banking sector into shape. For these achievements, he is Euromoney's central bank governor of the year. But he also strove for greater independence for the central bank. Now, on the eve of the country's crucial bond exchange, president Nestor Kirchner has chosen to dispense with Argentina's most internationally respected policymaker.

Argentina ditches its respected central bank governor on eve of crucial bond exchange

THIS YEAR, FOR the first time ever, Euromoney will present its award for central bank governor of the year to someone who isn't a central bank governor. At the end of September, just two weeks before the IMF/World Bank meetings, the mandate of Argentina's Alfonso Prat-Gay came to an end and president Nestor Kirchner did not renew it.

By Argentine standards, Prat-Gay had a good term at the central bank. As he himself notes: "Twenty months in the job puts me in the top 13 in terms of duration. Thirty-five of my predecessors didn't make it this far."

Nevertheless, the abrupt decision not to reappoint him for a second term came as a complete surprise. There was certainly no hint that he was doing a bad job: his peers have nothing but praise for him, and there was no scandal associated with his departure. "It violates the spirit of the charter," says Siobhan Manning, Latin America strategist at Caboto. "You're supposed to reappoint these guys unless there's some egregious defect."

There was no egregious defect. Euromoney outlines the many successes of Prat-Gay's tenure below.

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