The man who has accepted to be Italy's next premier earned the moniker "Super Mario" in the halls of the European Commission, stopping such corporate giants as Jack Welch and Bill Gates in their competitive tracks.
Elegantly attired with a formal demeanor, Mario Monti proved his mettle as a tough negotiator when he blocked the merger of General Electric and Honeywell and levied a euro500 million fine against Microsoft for abusing its dominant position.
"He moves with caution and speaks with nuances. But he moves," said Carlo Guarnieri, a political scientist at the University of Bologna.
A leading economist, Monti is among the most respected men in the country and the most admired Italians in Europe.
That will be no guarantee for success in the Herculean task before him: building a majority large enough to push painful structural reforms through a fractured Parliament to prevent Italy from being dragged into the burgeoning debt crisis.
But he has some clear assets: he is part of the Italian financial establishment, has strong ties to European institutions and governments and enjoys the clear support of President Giorgio Napolitano, who gave Monti a mandate Sunday to form a new government.
Text: Colleen Barry, AP
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