Mario Monti (19 March 1943) is an Italian economist and politician. He was born in Varese, Italy. After an extensive career in Italian and European politics and as an advisor to various major corporations and banks including Goldman Sachs International, he was appointed Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri della Repubblica Italiana (Italian Prime Minister) on 9 November 2011.
In 1965 Monti received his degree in Economy at the Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi, Milan and specialised at Yale University.
He was previously advisor to Italian car giant FIAT and to insurance company Generali Group. Between 1988-1990 he was Vice President of one of Italy's first and most important banks La Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI) (also known as Comit). He has authored many publications on economy and finance and is a columnist in one of Italy's leading newspapers Il Corriere della Sera.
Mario Monti was the first elected European chairman of the Trilateral Commission in 2010 and is on the Steering Committee of Bilderberg. He is also on the Executive Committee of the Aspen Institute Italia, a member of the IMF's European Regional Advisory Group and the honorary president (previously Chairman 2005-2008) of Brussels-based think-tank Bruegel.
On 9 November 2011 Mario Monti was nominated as Senatore a Vita (Life Senator) and on 13 November 2011 was appointed Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri (Prime Minister) of Italy by Presidente della Republica (Italian Head of State) Giorgio Napolitano within less than 24 hours of the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi.
Mario Monti served as European Commissioner in charge of the Internal Market, Financial Services and Taxation from 1995 to 1999 under Jacques Santer's Commission and then as European Commissioner for Competition from 1999 to 2004 under Romano Prodi's Commission. Although, Monti did not officially work with Goldman Sachs until 2005, it was during his years with the Commission that Goldman Sachs became interested in Monti. This comes as no surprise given the strategic importance of Monti's decisions that could make or break takeover and merger deals in which Goldman Sachs had a direct or indirect interest.
According to the European Commission's official website, Monti
- handled a number of well-known cases such as General Electric/Honeywell, Microsoft, and the German Landesbanken. He also introduced a radical reform of EU antitrust and merger controls and led, with the US authorities, the creation of the International Competition Network (ICN).
- He was also EU coordinator for the France-Spain electricity interconnection, and brokered the agreement between Prime Ministers Fillon and Zapatero in June 2008. Mr. Monti was also a member of the Attali Committee on French economic growth, set up by President Sarkozy (2007-2008).
The Santer Commission 1995-1999, in which Monti Served as European Commissioner in charge of the Internal Market, was dissolved amidst allegations of fraud, mismanagement and nepotism. The official report of the allegations was put forward by a Committee of independent experts and led to the immediate collective resignation of the Santer Commission. Although many of the Commissioners, including Monti, were not individually subject to any specific allegations of wrongdoing, the Committee concluded that all Commissioners bore responsibility. The Commissioners denied any knowledge about the alleged wrongdoings in their respective departments, however, the Committee found that the problems were "common knowledge in their services, even up to the highest official levels" (Committee of Independent Experts, 15 March 1999)
By the report's own admission the Committee was unable to address all the allegations due the extremely limited time available and that it "did not seek 'proof' in the judicial sense of the word" (Committee of Independent Experts, 15 March 1999) with regards to the information it obtained. The report also makes it clear that it was never intended be a judicial enquiry. The timely manner of the collective resignation helped avoid a potential independent judicial enquiry, and the succeeding Prodi Commission actually assisted in covering up and preventing the debate on accountability of the Commission opened by Parliament and the independent experts. The collective resignation of Santer's Commission and the manner in which the succeeding Prodi Commission was reappointed without a parliamentary debate was deemed illegal by legal critics.
After the controversies surrounding Romano Prodi's appointment to the presidency, when Prodi took office he reappointed Monti along with three other Commissioners from the Santer's Commission despite their collective resignation over the allegations of fraud, mismanagement and nepotism.
Mario Monti's advisory role to Goldman Sachs and his recent appointment as Italy's Prime Minister to assist with the countries "debt crisis" has come under a lot of scrutiny. The banking industry, in which Goldman Sachs has enormous influence, has played a significant role in creating the current debt crisis, particularly but not limited to cases, such as Greece and Italy. Naturally colossal banks such as Goldman Sachs have a lot to lose or gain from how those countries choose to manage their debt and patrimony. It therefore may not come as a surprise that Goldman Sachs will have an interest in determining or shaping the outcome of the current debt crisis. The appointment of Goldman Sachs' Senior Advisor Mario Monti as Prime Minister of Italy at a crucial moment of Italy's debt crisis points to a worrying conflict of interest.
It is also of significant interest that Monti's appointment coincides with other recently appointed Goldman Sachs associates to key positions in Europe who will undoubtedly have a role to play in shaping the future of the eurozone's economic crisis. Former Goldman Sachs Managing Director Mario Draghi was recently appointed head of the European Central Bank. In addition Draghi is also associated with the notable Bilderberg Group in which Monti sits on the Steering Committee.
The former Head of the European Central Bank and Greece's Central Bank, Lucas Papademos was recently appointed as Greek Prime Minister. During his time with the Greece's Central Bank, Lucas Papademos was involved in a controversial debt swap with Goldman Sachs. Papademos is also a member of the Trilateral Commission where Monti sits as European President. As Prime Minister, Papademos has appointed another former Goldman Sachs employee Petros Christodoulou as head of Greece's debt management agency. It should also be noted that within 10 days after Mario Draghi was appointed head of the ECB both Papademos and Monti were not elected but appointed after their respective predecessors were forced to resign. Both men were presented as "technocrats" and appointed to head up an "expert government" to impose emergency austerity measures to help manage the country's debt.
- "European Commission, Economic and Financial Affairs," accessed 17 November 2011.
- Merrell, Caroline, "Goldman hires former EU Competition Commissioner," 14 December 2005, Times Online, accessed 31 January 2010.
- Merrell, Caroline, "Goldman hires former EU Competition Commissioner", 14 December 2005, Times Online, accessed 31 January 2010.
- European Commission, Economic and Financial Affairs, accessed 17 November 2011
- Giornalettismo, Mario Monti, the technocrat turned politician accessed 19 November
- TGCOM Mediaset Who is Mario Monti?, Accessed 17 November 2011
- Trilateral Commission Leadership, accessed 17 November 2011
- Bilderberg Governance, accessed 17 November 2011.
- Executive Committee of Aspen Institute Italia Accessed 19 November
- Brussels-based think-tank Bruegel, accessed 19 November 2011
- Ansa.it Napolitano Nominates Monti to form new Government, Accessed 17 November 2011
- Foley, Stephen. 18 November 2011 What price the new democracy? Goldman Sachs conquers Europe Accessed 22 November 2011
- European Commission, Economic and Financial Affairs, accessed 17 November 2011
- The European ParliamentFirst Report on Allegations regarding Fraud, Mismanagement and Nepotism in the European Commission 15 March 1999 Accessed 21 November 2011
- The European ParliamentThe resignation of the Jacques Santer Commission 17 March 1999 Accessed 21 November
- The European ParliamentCommittee of Independent Experts. (15 March 1999). First Report on Allegations regarding Fraud, Mismanagement and Nepotism in the European Commission. Brussels: European Parliament. p. 137 Accessed 21 November 2011
- The European ParliamentCommittee of Independent Experts. (15 March 1999). First Report on Allegations regarding Fraud, Mismanagement and Nepotism in the European Commission. Brussels: European Parliament., p.11. Accessed 21 November 2011
- The European Parliament Committee of Independent Experts. (15 March 1999). First Report on Allegations regarding Fraud, Mismanagement and Nepotism in the European Commission. Brussels: European Parliament. Accessed 21 November 2011
- J Nergelius, De-legalize it-On Current Tendencies in EC Constitutional Law, in P. Eeckhout and Tridimas, eds., Yearbook of European Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 21, 2001–2002, 443 cited in Rossetti, C. (2006). Chapter IIV, The Italian EU Presidencies And The De-Legalization Policy. In J. Nergelius, Nordic and other European constitutional traditions. Brill.