Lucas Papademos, named Thursday to be interim prime minister of Greece, steered the country into the euro region as central bank governor more than a decade ago. Now the former European Central Bank vice president will have to secure the country's euro membership for a second time.
Papademos, who has never held elected office, helped foster economic growth rates that surpassed Germany's and France's in his eight years at Greece's central bank before moving to the ECB in 2002. Most recently a visiting professor at Harvard and an adviser to departing Prime Minister George Papandreou, Papademos takes over a country weeks from being unable to meet its debt obligations.
"He's a leader who can temporarily see Greece through troubled times, but keep in mind that he has no political base," said Spyros Economides, a senior lecturer at the London School of Economics. "A cross-party coalition will put up with him for a defined, temporary period only."
Papademos, 64, will assume office after a week that saw Germany and France warn Greece they will cut all aid to the country until it signs up to a bailout plan agreed to in Brussels on Oct. 26. Failure to do so could call Greece's membership of the euro into question after the two countries' leaders ordered Papandreou to decide once and for all whether his nation can stay in the currency.
Papademos' task will be to navigate parliament, the focus of a wave of street protests in recent months, through the legislation needed to secure the next rounds of emergency funding.
Papademos earned a Bachelor of Science in physics, a Master of Science in electrical engineering and a doctorate in economics, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to a biography on Harvard's Kennedy School website.