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Central bank governor of the year 2009: Durmus Yilmaz, Turkey

With nearly 30 years’ experience at the central bank, Durmus Yilmaz is the ideal person to steer the country’s financial system through the global credit crisis. Sudip Roy reports.

Central bank governor of the year: Durmus Yilmaz, Turkey

QUIET, MODEST, UNASSUMING, Durmus Yilmaz has the ideal traits needed to lead a central bank through the worst financial crisis to have struck the global economy in more than 50 years. The head of the Central Bank of Turkey says that despite the extraordinary challenges he has faced over the past 12 months he himself has not changed. "I consider myself an ordinary man who happens to be in the central bank and has been given the responsibility of the job and does that job to the best of my ability," he says in an interview with Euromoney.

Luckily for Turkey, Yilmaz has proven skills that are admired throughout the country’s banking industry. "He is a very wise and visionary person," says Ziya Akkurt, chief executive at Akbank. "He is seen as a calm person. He always takes initiatives on time and without fear."

Although Turkey is often singled out by analysts as being among those countries most vulnerable to the global credit crisis, so far its financial system, although not necessarily its economy, has proved to be relatively resilient. That could change quickly. It has a history of financial woes – the most recent in 2001.

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