Kelimbetov Replaces Marchenko at Kazakh Central Bank

By Nariman Gizitdinov

Kairat Kelimbetov, a deputy prime minister who led the nationalization of failing Kazakh lenders in 2009 as the chief of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, will replace Grigori Marchenko as central bank governor.


Kelimbetov, 44, was named in place of Marchenko, 53, who resigned for “family reasons” before his six-year term was set to end in January 2015, according to a statement published on President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s website today. Kelimbetov’s knowledge of “the country’s economy and financial situation will have a positive effect on the work of the National Bank,” Nazarbayev said in the statement.


Kelimbetov, a graduate of Moscow State University and Georgetown University, was chief executive officer of Samruk-Kazyna when the government used the sovereign wealth fund to prop up banks hit by a credit squeeze in 2009. He became economic development and trade minister in April 2011 before being promoted to deputy prime minister in January 2012.


The move ends Marchenko’s second stint at the helm of the monetary authority, which was marked by a 21 percent devaluation of the tenge in February 2009, a month after his appointment at the height of the country’s worst financial crisis in more than a decade.


Marchenko, who was backed by Russia and other former Soviet states to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn for the top post at the International Monetary Fund in 2011, was in charge of Deutsche Bank AG’s local securities unit before taking over the central bank in 1999-2004. He served as first deputy premier in 2004.


Speaking during a March 19 online conference, Marchenko said he planned to retire after turning 55 in December 2014.


Asset Manager


The National Bank of Kazakhstan, which manages a stockpile of $92 billion including international reserves and the National Oil Fund, will also oversee the assets of a single state pension fund that will be formed next year. The central Asian nation is consolidating more than $21 billion of retirement savings from non-state funds to improve access to credit and mobilize resources for faster economic growth.


In June, Nazarbayev faulted the government and the central bank for their “awkward actions” in explaining plans to make the retirement age equal for men and women, saying their work was “unsatisfactory.”