Rumours of an impending shakeup has forced Ernst von Freyberg, chairman of embattled Vatican Bank, to step down ahead of confirmations, Italian media reported earlier.
L'Espresso, an Italian newsweekly, last week reported Von Freyberg would soon resign, allegedly due to a clash with the personal liaison to the bank of Pope Francis over access to information.
Reuters, however, according to an unidentified source, reported Von Freyberg's resignation, was a scenario not unexpected at all.
Von Freyberg, a German lawyer and manager, rose to the post as chief executive of the Vatican Bank in February 2013, in what was seen as one of Pope Benedict XVI's last major decision. Ever since, his tenure has been accorded as a "stop-gap following the spate of scandals at the bank in the closing years of Benedict's papacy."
A report by Boston Globe said French financier Jean-Baptise de Franssu is being eyed to replace Von Freyberg. He currently sits on the Council for the Economy.
"Freyberg was called in to clean up the mess and now something different, more stable, is needed," the source said.
The Institute of Religious Works, as what the Vatican bank is formally known, in the more than one year under Von Freyberg's administration, closed at least 1,400 accounts, instituted strict anti-money laundering regulations and launched several investigations into suspicious activities.
But "this is the end of phase one. Phase two will see the integration of the IOR in the new financial architecture of the Vatican, but this will require more time," the Financial Times quoted an unidentified person close to the process who did not want to be named.
Pope Francis and his eight cardinal advisers are scheduled to meet anytime soon to decide the bank's future, Italian news reports said, citing two people familiar with the decisions.
"Obviously IOR is in a time of peaceful transition. The contribution of Ernst von Freyberg continues to be deeply appreciated and highly valued and further clarifications are possible, indeed likely, next week after the meeting of the Council for the Economy on Saturday," the Vatican said.