Jean-Claude Trichet

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Jean-Claude Trichet
Jean-Claude Trichet 2011 (cropped).jpg
President of the European Central Bank
In office
1 November 2003 – 31 October 2011
Vice PresidentLucas Papademos
Vítor Constâncio
Preceded byWim Duisenberg
Succeeded byMario Draghi
Governor of the Bank of France
In office
19 September 1993 – 1 November 2003
Preceded byJacques de Larosière
Succeeded byChristian Noyer
Personal details
Jean-Claude Trichet

(1942-12-20) 20 December 1942 (age 79)
Lyon, France
Aline Rybalka
(m. 1970)
EducationÉcole nationale supérieure des mines de Nancy
University of Paris
Sciences Po
École nationale d'administration

Jean-Claude Trichet (French: [ʒɑ̃ klod tʁiʃɛ]; born 20 December 1942) is a French economist who served as President of the European Central Bank from 2003 to 2011. Previous to his assumption of the presidency he served as Governor of the Bank of France from 1993 to 2003.

After stepping down from the European Central Bank, Trichet has taken speaking arrangements across France and served on the Board of Directors of the Bank for International Settlements. He was asked to join the non-doctrinal think tank, Bruegel, to consult on economic policy. In 2008, Trichet ranked fifth on Newsweek's list of the world's most powerful along with economic triumvirs Ben Bernanke (fourth) and Masaaki Shirakawa (sixth).[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Trichet was born in 1942 in Lyons, the son of a professor of Greek and Latin.[2] He was educated at the École des Mines de Nancy, from which he graduated in 1964. He later earned a master's degree in economics from the University of Paris and then trained at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (best known as Sciences Po), finishing in 1966, and the École nationale d'administration (ENA) from 1969–1971, two French higher education institutions in the field of political science and state administration.[citation needed]


Career in the public sector[edit]

From 1987, Trichet served as head of the Trésor public. In this capacity, he also chaired the Paris Club of creditor nations in the mid-1980s and was closely involved in debt problems that struck Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.[3] He also became a member of Washington-based financial advisory body, the Group of Thirty. Soon after taking office at Trésor, Trichet oversaw the change to an anti-inflationary franc fort (strong franc) policy, to pave the way for currency union with Germany. In 1993, he led Trésor’s move to grant the Bank of France independence to set its own interest rates.[4]

In 1993, Trichet was appointed governor of Banque de France. Both as director of the French Treasury and then governor of the Banque de France, he was widely seen as one of the architects of the European monetary union.[5]

By 1997, Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and President Jacques Chirac proposed Trichet as France’s candidate for the position as president of the European Central Bank;[6] this way they opposed Wim Duisenberg, the candidate preferred by the majority of the Eurozone members. Under a compromise laid out by German Finance Minister Theo Waigel, Duisenberg would resign midway through his eight-year term to make way for Trichet.[7] On 1 November 2003 he succeeded Wim Duisenberg.

During his time in office, Trichet oversaw the ECB’s response to the European debt crisis, including its Securities Markets Programme to stem the crisis in eurozone government bond markets.[8] In 2011, ECB board member Jürgen Stark resigned in what was widely seen as a protest against this policy.[9]

Career in the private sector[edit]

On 28 January 2012, the board of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company approved Trichet’s nomination to the Board, where he represented (with Dominique d’Hinnin of the Lagardère Group) the French state’s holding company SOGEADE.[10][11]

Trichet succeeded Mario Monti as chairman of the European branch of the Trilateral Commission in 2012.[12]

Trichet was a member of the Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance, which was established by the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors for the period from 2017 to 2018.[13] In early 2021, Trichet was appointed by the G20 to the High Level Independent Panel (HLIP) on financing the global commons for pandemic preparedness and response, co-chaired by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Lawrence Summers.[14]

Other activities[edit]

International organizations[edit]

Corporate boards[edit]

  • PIMCO, Member of the Global Advisory Board (since 2015)[16]

Non-profit organizations[edit]

Political positions[edit]

At the height of the euro crisis, Trichet publicly criticized President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had agreed at a meeting in Deauville in 2010 that sovereign debt could be restructured in a bailout to make private investors pay their share; the plan was never implemented.[26]

At the ceremony for the Charlemagne Prize in 2011, Trichet called for the creation of a central finance ministry to oversee spending by countries that use the euro.[27]

On 5 August 2011 Trichet wrote, together with Mario Draghi, a letter to the Italian government to push for a series of economic measures that would soon be implemented in Italy.[28]

In 2015, Trichet joined forces with two other former governors of the Bank of France – Michel Camdessus and Jacques de Larosière – in publicly supporting President François Hollande’s appointment of François Villeroy de Galhau to head the central bank.[29]

In a 2019 article for the Financial Times, Trichet publicly hit back against some of his former colleagues at the European Central Bank – including Jürgen Stark and Otmar Issing, who both worked as ECB chief economist under Trichet’s presidency –, calling them "misguided" in their criticism of the loose monetary policy pursued by his successor as president Mario Draghi.[30]


Crédit Lyonnais scandal[edit]

In January 2003, Trichet was put on trial with eight others charged with irregularities at Crédit Lyonnais, one of France's biggest banks. Trichet was in charge of the French treasury at that time. He was cleared in June 2003, which left the way clear for him to move to the ECB.[31] A parliamentary inquiry found no wrong-doing by Trichet, other civil servants or the three finance ministers in office during the critical period.[32]

2009 banking crisis[edit]

Within the European Central Bank, Trichet strongly resisted any contemplation of Greece defaulting on its debt. It was only in October 2011, with the end of his term imminent, that consensus was reached to allow a 50% cut in the value of Greek bonds.[33]

Trichet during the WEF 2010

Hypo Alpe Adria bailout[edit]

As part of a 2015 investigation launced by Austria’s parliament into defunct lender Hypo Alpe Adria, then opposition party NEOS named Trichet among 200 people it wanted to question.[34] At the time of Austria purchasing Hypo Alpe Adria from BayernLB in late 2009, Trichet had lobbied for the deal.[35]

Trichet has been criticised for the ECB's response to the Great Recession, which emphasised price stability over recovery and growth.[36][37] He was also criticized when he refused to answer a question about a possible conflict of interests concerning his successor's involvement at Goldman Sachs before taking charge as head of the ECB.[38]

Personal life[edit]

At age 22, Trichet married Aline Rybalka, a diplomat and translator whose parents immigrated to France from Ukraine. They have two sons: Pierre-Alexis Trichet (born 1971), a marketing strategy director at telecommunications company Orange SA; and Jean-Nicolas Trichet (born 1974), a musician and producer.[39]

Honours and awards[edit]


  1. ^ "Economic Triumvirate: 4. Ben Bernanke 5. Jean-Claude Trichet 6. Masaaki Shirakawa". Newsweek. 20 December 2008. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  2. ^ Ralph Atkins (14 May 2010), Man in the News: Jean-Claude Trichet Financial Times.
  3. ^ Ralph Atkins (9 May 2010), Trichet resists political interference amid crisis Financial Times.
  4. ^ Trichet in the clear The Economist, 19 June 2003.
  5. ^ Ralph Atkins (9 May 2010), Trichet resists political interference amid crisis Financial Times.
  6. ^ Tony Czuczka (29 December 1997), Jean-Claude Trichet (17): The French government's 11th-hour ECB candidate The Nikkei, 18 September 2014.
  7. ^ Tony Czuczka (29 December 1997), Germans, French dismiss report of European central bank deal Associated Press.
  8. ^ Paul Carrell (10 September 2011), Stark resignation limits Draghi's room on bond buys Reuters.
  9. ^ Paul Carrell (10 September 2011), Stark resignation limits Draghi's room on bond buys Reuters.
  10. ^ 1/26/2012
  11. ^ [1], 1/26/2012
  12. ^ "About the Trilateral Commission – European Region". Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  13. ^ Members Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance.
  14. ^ Ministry of Economy and FinanceThe G20 establishes a High Level Independent Panel on financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response Ministry of Economy and Finance, press release of 27 January 2021.
  15. ^ Decisions taken by the Governing Council of the ECB (in addition to decisions setting interest rates) European Central Bank (ECB), press release of 27 September 2019.
  16. ^ Jonathan Stempel (7 December 2015), Bernanke, Trichet, Brown join Pimco advisory board Reuters.
  17. ^ BWC Announces Board of Directors, Global Advisory Council Bretton Woods Committee, press release of 12 October 2020.
  18. ^ Foundation set up to safeguard Scope’s European identity Scope Group, press release of 3 September 2020.
  19. ^ Distinguished Fellows Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
  20. ^ Voice, European (4 April 2012). "Trichet named head of think-tank". POLITICO.
  21. ^ "Steering Committee". Bilderberg Group. Archived from the original on 11 March 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  22. ^ "European Horizons – A Transatlantic Think-Tank". Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  23. ^ Advisory Board Complexity Research Initiative for Systemic Instabilities (CRISIS).
  24. ^ Academic Advisory Board Institute for Law and Finance (ILF).
  25. ^ Senior Advisor: Jean-Claude Trichet Systemic Risk Council (SRC).
  26. ^ Pierre Briançon (19 March 2018), Jean-Claude Trichet: We still live in an ‘abnormal situation’ Politico Europe.
  27. ^ Jack Ewing and Niki Kitsantonis (2 June 2011), Trichet Urges Creation of Euro Oversight Panel New York Times.
  28. ^ Jean Pisani-Ferry (2014). The Euro Crisis and Its Aftermath. Oxford University Press. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-19-999333-8.
  29. ^ Dominique Vidalon (27 September 2015), Three former French central bankers back Villeroy de Galhau: Les Echos Reuters.
  30. ^ Mark Tran (6 January 2003), Jean-Claude Trichet defends Mario Draghi stance on monetary policy Financial Times.
  31. ^ "Top Euro banker cleared of scandal cover-up". BBC News. 18 June 2003. Retrieved 15 August 2007.
  32. ^ Martin Arnold (13 October 2019), Head of Bank of France appears in court The Guardian.
  33. ^ Landon Thomas Jr.; Stephen Castle (5 November 2011). "The Denials That Trapped Greece". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
  34. ^ Michael Shields (14 January 2015), Austria parliament starts investigation into Hypo bank collapse Reuters.
  35. ^ Michael Shields (11 March 2013), Embattled Hypo Alpe Adria extends executive contracts Reuters.
  36. ^ "An Impeccable Disaster". New York Times. 11 September 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  37. ^ Paul Krugman (1 December 2011). "The Summer of Confidence". The New York Times. The Conscience of a Liberal (blog). Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  38. ^ "LIENS DRAGHI-GOLDMAN SACHS : TRICHET RESTE MUET (ARTE)". Arret Sur Images. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  39. ^ Bloomberg: "Trichet Proving Prophet-Making No Panacea in Recovery" By Simon Kennedy and Jana Randow 21 August 2009
  40. ^ "ECB-president Trichet ontvangt koninklijke onderscheiding". Government of the Netherlands. 21 January 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  41. ^ Postanowienie Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej dnia 31 sierpnia 2011 r. (M.P. Nr 108, poz. 1090) Archived 5 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by Governor of the Bank of France
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the European Central Bank
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by European Group Chairman of the Trilateral Commission