Israeli-born Economist Eyed as Brazil’s Central Bank Governor

Ilan Goldfajn set to accept position amid scandal of President Dilma Rousseff's suspension and impending impeachment trial.

Ilan Goldfajn, then chief economist of Itau Unibanco Holding SA, speaks at a conference sponsored by Bloomberg News Portuguese language service in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Friday, June 11, 2010.
Marcia Zoet, Bloomberg

An Israeli-born economist, Ilan Goldfajn, is expected to be appointed governor of the central bank of Brazil, according to Brazilian media reports on Friday. The news came a day after Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was suspended from office by the Brazilian Senate. She will now face an impeachment trial over allegations that she borrowed from government banks to conceal a deficit.

Goldfajn, 50, who was born in Haifa, is a former deputy government of the Brazilian central bank and in recent years has been working as the chief economist at the Brazilian bank Itau Unibanco. He is thought to be the preferred candidate for central bank governor of Rouseff’s replacement as president, Michel Temer, but will require the formal approval of the new Brazilian finance minister, Henrique Meirelles. The current bank governor is stepping down on June 8.

If appointed, Goldfajn, who has roundly criticized corruption in Brazil over the past year, will have to contend with an economy that is projected to shrink by up to 3% this year. Goldfajn has a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. In the mid-1990s he was a professor at Brandeis University, followed by a stint as an economist at the International Monetary Fund.