Mario Draghi, the Italian economist and former Goldman Sachs executive, will soon end his mandate at the head of the European Central Bank (ECB).
Thursday marks his last press conference and rate decision at the euro zone’s central bank and he will officially leave on October 31.
CNBC takes a look at some of his key moments over his eight-year reign.
FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY – NOVEMBER 03: Mario Draghi, new President of the European Central Bank (ECB), speaks to the media following the first meeting of the ECB Governing Council.
Ralph Orlowski | Getty Images News | Getty Images
After only two months in office, Draghi announced a surprise rate cut of 25 basis points — thus reverting the policies of his predecessor. The announcement marked the first rate cut in two years. Draghi based the decision on a “mild recession by year end.”
Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), arrives to attend a global business summit at Lancaster House in London, U.K., on Thursday, July 26, 2012. More than 200 business leaders, central bankers and government officials from around the world will attend the summit.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The euro zone economy had been deteriorating and bond markets were fretting about the stability of the entire region, with yields on government debt reaching historic highs. Draghi decided it was time to address those concerns and, in a speech in London, he famously said the “ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough.” Draghi’s words rang loudly around the world’s trading rooms, investors believed his commitment and yields fell sharply across the euro zone.
European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi (L) and ECB vice president Vitor Constancio (R) arrive to a press conference at ECB Headquarters, in Willy Brandt Platz, Frankfurt, Germany, 05 June 2014, after ECB’s board meeting.
Horacio Villalobos | Corbis Historical | Getty Images
Inflation and economic growth in the euro zone were still struggling. So Draghi announced it was time to introduce negative rates — forcing European lenders to pay an interest on deposits with the central bank. The measure was an attempt to boost bank lending, thus helping economic growth. The ECB was the first major central bank to introduce negative interest rates.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi meets the press at the European Central Bank Headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, 22 January 2015.
Horacio Villalobos | Corbis News | Getty Images
Talking directly to markets, introducing negative rates and other measures were not enough to make a dramatic and real difference to economic growth in the euro area. Draghi decided it was time to introduce something that his U.S. counterparts had long done: quantitative easing — buying government bonds of euro area countries to keep yields lower and boost spending.
This file photo taken on April 15, 2015 shows a woman disrupting a press conference of Mario Draghi (L), President of the European Central Bank (ECB), by throwing sheets of paper and calling for an “end of the ECB dictatorship” in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany.
DANIEL ROLAND | AFP | Getty Images
A protester managed to interrupt Draghi during a press conference. The activist jumped on his desk, shouted: “End ECB dictatorship!” and showered Draghi with what reporters described as a glitter bomb. She was then removed from the room by security guards and Draghi carried on to cover the bank’s monetary policy meeting.
Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), speaks during a press conference following the meeting of the bank’s Governing Council in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on December 13, 2018.
DANIEL ROLAND | AFP | Getty Images
The euro zone seemed to be experiencing higher and more sustained economic growth. So, Draghi announced that the ECB would be stopping its quantitative easing program.
FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 12: Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, arrives to speak to the media following a meeting of the ECB governing board on September 12, 2019 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Sean Gallup | Getty Images News | Getty Images
With global trade tensions, a slowdown in Germany and ongoing Brexit uncertainty, economic growth in the euro area was once again at risk. It was time for more monetary stimulus — the ECB re-introduced QE and laid the groundwork for Draghi’s successor.
—CNBC’s Hannah Wood contributed to this report.