The governor of the Bank Antonio Fazio finally resigned his position on Monday 19 December in order to restore some calm to the political scene and to the Bank of Italy after months controversy surrounding his position.

Calls for the governors resignation came after prosecutors began investigating Fazios role in the takeover bids for Banca Antonveneta during the summer. Events intensified last week when Gianpiero Fiorani, former chief executive office of Banca Popolare Italiana (BPI) involved in the Antonveneta takeover bid was arrested on suspicion of criminal conspiracy to embezzle.

Fazio has also come in for criticism in European banking circles for what are seen as his efforts to prevent European banks entering the Italian market.

Fazio has worked at the Bank of Italy for 45 years, serving as governor since May 1993. Until now, the role of governor has been a life-long mandate but under the terms of new banking laws making their way through the Italian parliament this is expected to change to fixed six-year term of office, with the possibility of a period of renewal. Fazio, who insists that he has done nothing wrong, is under formal investigation in courts in both Milan and Rome. Interest is now on Fazios possible successors and how the new governor will view future bids from European banks for Italian credit institutions. Meanwhile it is the director general of the Bank of Italy, Vincenzo Desario, who will take on Fazio position until the new appointment is made.