María Delfina Rossi, daughter of Defense Minister Agustín Rossi, was appointed head of Banco Nacíon, according to a decree published in the official bulletin last Wednesday and signed by President Cristina Kirchner and Economy Minister Axel Kiciloff.
Of course, controversy arose.
At only 26 years old, Rossi has already snagged a Bachelor’s degree in economics from the Barcelona Autonomous University, where she has lived since 2002 when she moved there with her mother. She has also earned a Master’s in the same field from Florence’s European University and a
PhD postgraduate diploma from the University of London and London School of Economics (taken online).
As if all that weren’t enough, she is currently studying for another Master’s degree in public affairs at the University of Texas.
But after 13 years, she is returning to Argentina to be one of the people in charge of leading the nation’s regulating entity in banking and financial matters. Her young age will definitely stand out in the conference room, since she’s by far Banco Nación’s youngest head. Her immediate elder is president Juan Ignacio Forlón, who’s 38.
She’s the only person under 30 holding such a position in the entire country, both in public and private banks. Oh, and her appointment includes a four-year contract and a salary that exceeds AR$ 70,000.
Rossi was also a political activist during her time in Spain, where she took her firsts steps as a green advocate in a party called Initiative for Catalonia. In 2014 she ran for a seat in the European Parliament representing the Spanish Leftist Popular Party. However, she held the 37th spot on the list and so didn’t make it: “I take pride in being chosen given my young age. I represent the young, European green generation and it’s already a symbol,” she stated at the time. For three years, she also worked at the European Parliament as deputy Raül Romeva’s adviser.
Despite her extensive resumé, controversy arose as soon as Rossi’s appointment reached the main news outlets. The main reasons? She has no banking and/or financial work experience and hasn’t lived on Argentine soil in over 13 years.
Some are so miffed about it that an adviser for the PRO party, Yamil Santoro, even started a petition on change.org to have her removed: “Agustina Rossi’s designation as head of the Banco Nación is arbitrary and violates the law. She’s not fit for the position and does not guarantee equal representation from the different parts of national economy, required in article 16 of the bank’s founding act. It’s a sad case of nepotism and abuse of power,” the petition reads.
The petition’s initial goal was to get 7,500 signatures. Two days later, it had obtained 27,600 supporters.
Far from frightened, Rossi answered to criticisms with her head held high: “I got to the bank due to my academic and professional trajectory. It seems like some people paid more attention to my ID card than my record,” she stated during an interview with Télam.
During another contact with the press, she also pointed out her position does not only require knowledge of economics: “It requires political trust, it’s not just about banking, but having the ability to read the country’s needs, its people and industry, so that the bank may contribute to growth while being inclusive.” Many seem to believe otherwise.