(Bloomberg) -- Victoria Rodriguez Ceja is set to become Mexico’s first female central bank governor after the senate confirmed her to its board Thursday, vaulting a little-known budget official into one of the most coveted jobs in Latin American finance.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is expected to designate her as head of the bank soon. He roiled markets last week by unexpectedly withdrawing his nomination of former Finance Minister Arturo Herrera and plucked Rodriguez from relative obscurity for the role.
Lopez Obrador said he made the U-turn to promote a woman who has been central to carrying out his sweeping austerity plans. There will now be a majority of three women on the bank’s five-person board, which only gained its first female member in 2018.
Rodriguez, until now Mexico’s public spending chief, was approved by 78 votes in favor, 21 against, and 10 abstentions in the senate, which is controlled by Lopez Obrador’s Morena party and its allies. She will take office at the start of 2022.
Rodriguez defended her record Wednesday in a three-hour session with the Senate Finance Committee, arguing that 20 years working in federal and city budget offices had prepared her for the job.
“I believe I meet the required experience in monetary policy,” Rodriguez said at the hearing. “It’s not a subject that’s alien to me.”
She repeatedly insisted on the importance of the bank’s autonomy during the hearing. Economists had worried aloud last week that by helming the bank, known as Banxico, with an ally, Lopez Obrador might be taking a grab at one of the few Mexican institutions that has remained free from his reach.
The president responded by saying twice that he won’t meddle with the bank’s independence.
Read More: AMLO Throws Mexican Peso Caution to Wind with Banxico U-Turn
Lopez Obrador had already raised eyebrows earlier this year by saying he wanted someone focused on the “moral economy” to run Banxico, which has been seen as a bulwark of stability for Mexican markets for three decades.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
BNN Bloomberg Picks
'Ontario is closed for business:' Concert, theatre organizers face new COVID hurdles
Anxious about math? It could be impacting your finances
Ski resorts aim for more efficient snowmaking amid drought
Strip-bar habit worth US$220,000 hangs over Swiss banker on trial
Trucker convoy raises millions in funds as vaccine-hesitant supporters flock to cause
Alberta’s Kenney teams with U.S. governors to end trucker vax rule