LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers, known as the Eurogroup, recommended Italy's Fabio Panetta on Wednesday for the six-member executive board of the European Central Bank.
The Bank of Italy deputy governor and veteran of more than three decades had been the only candidate proposed to replace Benoit Coeure, who will step down on Dec. 31.
"The Eurogroup gave its support to the candidacy of Fabio Panetta for the position of the new member of the ECB's executive board," the ministers said on Twitter.
The 60-year-old economist had previously helped engineer some of the ECB's non-conventional tools, such as a long-term liquidity facility to banks known as LTRO (Long Term Refinancing Operation).
Once formally appointed by EU leaders at a summit in December, Panetta will serve a non-renewable eight-year term at the ECB.
Each of the euro zone's three biggest economies -- Germany, France and Italy -- have traditionally had one representative on the executive board, and the Italian seat falls open on Oct. 31 with the departure of ECB President Mario Draghi.
The ministers also started the process of choosing a replacement for Sabine Lautenschlager of Germany, who will step down from the ECB's board at the end of the month.
Germany will be expected to nominate another candidate, probably a woman, for the job by the end of October. She will then be recommended by euro zone finance ministers in November, undergo a hearing in the European Parliament and be formally appointed by EU leaders at the same December summit as Panetta.
(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Catherine Evans)