After four tortuous days of power-sharing talks that wreaked havoc on the markets, senior banker Lucas Papademos has been appointed as the new prime minister of an interim Greek unity government.
Who is Papademos?
Papademos, who is not a member of any party, has been operating lately as an adviser to the former prime minister George Papandreou.
He also taught at Columbia University from 1975 to 1984 and worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston before returning to Greece to become chief economist at the Bank of Greece from 1985-1993.
He was then appointed deputy governor of the Bank of Greece, rising to the helm a year later after helping fend off a speculative attack on the drachma.
As governor from 1994 to 2002, Papademos presided over an era of increasing independence from the government that was crucial in helping Greece secure membership in the eurozone.
He then spent eight years at the European Central Bank.
"I am not a politician but I have dedicated most of my professional life to exercising financial policy both in Greece and in Europe," Papademos said after the Greek president gave him the mandate to form a Cabinet. "The Greek economy continues to face huge problems despite the great efforts than have been made for fiscal reform."
He is also fully in favor of keeping Greece in the eurozone.
"The participation of our country in the eurozone is a guarantee for the country's monetary stability. It is a driver of financial prosperity," Papademos said. "And our country's participation the eurozone, despite the difficulties that arise, will facilitate the adjustment of the economy and its development."
European officials greeted the news of his appointment, and his goal of eurozone membership, with relief.
"The agreement to form a government of national unity opens a new chapter for Greece," said a joint statement issued by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy. "We warmly welcome this news."
Papademos has only a few weeks to persuade Greece’s creditors in the so-called troika — the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank — to release its next block of aid, $11 billion, before the country runs out of money, writes the New York Times. Then he must begin fulfilling the painful terms of an even larger loan.
“The course will not be easy,” Papademos said to reporters shortly after news of his appointment was released. “But the problems, I’m convinced, will be solved. They will be solved faster, with a smaller cost and in an efficient way, if there is unity, agreement and prudence.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.