India-born Suma Chakrabarti will succeed Germany's Thomas Mirow as the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which has been supporting economic transition in former Eastern Bloc countries and Soviet republics for the last two decades.

Mr. Chakrabarti, a permanent Secretary in the U.K. Ministry of Justice, has won the race for the leadership of the bank by prevailing over four other candidates, including Mr. Mirow, who sought a second four-year term.

A majority of the bank's board of directors, representing 63 members, voted for Mr. Chakrabarti at its annual meeting held in London at the week-end.

With the election of Mr. Chakrabarti, a British national is for the first time at the top of the London-based East European Bank.

Until now, the post was held alternatively by German and French nationals. Former German President Horst Koehler led the bank between 1998 and 2000.

Mr. Chakrabarti will begin his four-year term on July 3, the EBRD said in a press statement.

Born in 1969 in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, Mr. Chakrabarti has been serving as a permanent secretary in the U.K. Ministry of Justice since November, 2007.

He began his career by joining the British Overseas Development Administration in 1984 after taking his MA in Economics from the University of Sussex. He later became a private secretary to former Minister of State for Overseas Development Lynda Chalker, and, in 2002, rose to the post of permanent Secretary at the Department of International Development.

He had also represented the British government at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Mr. Chakrabarti said he was greatly honoured by his election as the head of the EBRD and pledged to continue the bank's ‘outstanding work' as it rises to the challenges facing the future.

“It is a great privilege to follow on from Mr. Mirow and I want to congratulate him for everything he had achieved,” the statement quoted him as saying.

More In: Companies | Business