Trichet, Jean-Claude

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Jean-Claude Trichet (zhäN-klōd trē´shĕ), 1942–, French banker and government official, b. Lyons. During the 1970s Trichet held a number of French finance and treasury positions and in 1978 was appointed an adviser to the minister of economic affairs and then to the French president, Giscard d'Estaing. From 1981 Trichet largely worked in the French treasury department, becoming its director in 1987. He was chairman (1992–93) of the European Monetary Committee until he became governor (1993–2003) of the Bank of France.

As president (2003–11) of the European Central Bank (ECB), which sets monetary policy for the eurozone nations (see European Monetary System), Trichet focused on fighting inflation. During the 2007–8 financial crisis and the subsequent eurozone government debt crisis, he led the generally conservative ECB in a number of moves designed to stabilize eurozone finances, including bending ECB rules to buy government bonds; these moves at times gave the ECB a broader, more active role than envisioned in its mandate, but at the same time he reemphasized the ECB's limited role and remained focused on government austerity measures as the main solution.