The European Central Bank (ECB) has named Belgian executive board member Peter Praet as its chief economist following the resignation of Juergen Stark. Peter Praet was formerly the Belgian finance minister’s chief of staff, BBC informs. He will oversee ECB economists who calculate projections on which interest rate decisions for the 17-country eurozone are based. He has been a member of the ECB’s six-member board since June 2011. Stark resigned citing “personal reasons” in September, but stayed on until a successor was appointed. Praet earned a PhD in economics from the Free University of Brussels in 1980 and worked in the public and private sectors before becoming a board member of the Belgian central bank in 2000. Between 1987 and 1999 he was chief economist of what is now Fortis Bank and then spent a year as the Belgian Minister of Finance’s Chief of Staff. He was also a member of the Basel Committee on banking supervision and a first alternative of the board of directors of the Bank for International Settlements.