TORREÓN, Mexico -- On Dec. 9, Mexican President Felipe Calderón tabbed Finance Minister Agustín Carstens to head the nation's central bank, known as Banxico.Carstens replaces Guillermo Ortiz, a highly respected official who had occupied the post for 12 years.
Despite a political climate increasingly hostile toward Calderón, the move -- which had been rumored for weeks -- brought waves of approval. The markets, the punditry, and that titan of Mexico's economy, Carlos Slim, were all pleased by the selection, with the latter raving, "[W]ithout a doubt, Carstens has all of the credentials to occupy the post."
Among Calderón's cabinet members, Carstens has always been one of the most trusted by the opposition. His long track record working in the foremost financial institutions -- both in Mexico (including Banxico) and beyond (the International Monetary Fund) -- also explains the widespread comfort level with his appointment.