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Argentina's Macri replaces Banco de la Nación chief with former central banker

Argentina's President, Mauricio Macri, appointed former central bank president Javier González Fraga to serve as the new head of state-owned Banco de la Nación Argentina, replacing Carlos Melconian, the government said in a statement Jan. 18.

González Fraga headed the Argentine central bank, Banco Central de la Republica Argentina, in 1989 and 1990. He also served as vice president of the Buenos Aires stock exchange from 1994 to 1999 and as head of the Argentine Capital Markets Institute from 1992 to 1999, according to a La Gaceta report.

In a statement, Macri thanked Melconian, for his "passion and dedication" at the helm of Banco de la Nacion, but did not give a reason for his exit. Melconian, who was a key Macri adviser, stepped into the Banco de la Nación role in 2015.

The departure comes weeks after Macri's finance minister, Alfonso Prat-Gay, stepped down after a year on the job.

The head of Argentina's banking union Asociacion Bancaria, Sergio Palazzo, reportedly said he was "surprised" by the decision to replace Melconian, who he said had "always been available to dialogue and resolve problems," and was a key player in salary negotiations with the union, La Gaceta reported separately.