US-trained bankers pack new Argentine cabinet: press

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Buenos Aires (AFP) - Argentina's president-elect Mauricio Macri has named US-educated bankers and big business executives to key posts in a cabinet he vows will revive the economy, officials and media reports said Wednesday.

He named as budget and finance minister Alfonso Prat-Gay, 50, an economist trained at Pennsylvania University and former Wall Street banker, Macri's designated chief of staff Marcos Pena told a news conference.

Prat-Gay, now a lawmaker in Argentina, worked from 1994 for J.P. Morgan in London and New York and later served as president of Argentina's Central Bank. Like Macri, he went to school at the elite Cardinal Newman College in Buenos Aires.

Pena also confirmed that Juan Jose Aranguren, former president of the Argentine division of the British-Dutch oil giant Shell, would be energy minister in the cabinet, which will take office on December 10 along with Macri.

He won the presidency in a runoff vote on Sunday, heralding an end to 12 years of left-wing government by the populist Peronist movement.

He has vowed to liberalize the economy, lifting outgoing President Cristina Kirchner's restrictions on imports and US dollar transactions.

The restrictions have deterred foreign investors. Macri's rivals warned his reforms would hurt poorer Argentines' purchasing power.

Argentine media also named the person Macri wants to head Argentina's Central Bank: Federico Sturzenegger, a lawmaker, former banker and ex-head of the nationalized oil company YPF, who studied at top school MIT in Boston.

Macri may struggle to put Sturzenegger in the post because the incumbent Alejandro Vanoli, an ally of Kirchner, by law can serve out his term to 2019. To replace him Macri will have to get a motion through the Senate, where his rivals hold a majority.

Newspaper La Nacion reported that the director of Macri's six-member economic cabinet was expected to be Gustavo Lopetegui, currently chairman of the airline LAN Argentina.

Macri named Francisco Cabrera as his future industry minister. Cabrera formerly worked for US tech company Hewlett Packard, international bank HSBC and other financial groups.

Susana Malcorra, the chief of staff of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, will be foreign minister. She also has a business background, having worked for companies including IBM and Telecom Argentina.

After his election victory Macri vowed to strengthen Argentina's foreign relations after 12 years under the combative Kirchner and her late husband Nestor.

Macri named another economist, Rogelio Frigerio, as his interior minister.

Most of Macri's reported appointees were privately educated in Argentina and went on to do further studies in elite US universities.

An ex-footballer of top Buenos Aires side Boca Juniors, Carlos Mac Allister, said that Macri had named him to be sports minister. Macri was formerly president of Boca.

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