The European Central Bank today gave the green light to the appointment of a woman to its all-male executive board. 

Earlier this week, the Council of EU member states named Germany's Sabine Lautenschlaeger to the ECB's executive board, replacing compatriot Joerg Asmussen.

The ECB's decision-making governing council has now approved the appointment, the central bank said in a statement.

"The Governing Council has adopted an opinion on a recommendation from the Council of the European Union on the appointment of a new member of the executive board of the ECB," the statement said.

"The Governing Council had no objections to the proposed candidate, Sabine Lautenschlger, who is a person of recognised standing and professional experience in monetary or banking matters." 

Lautenschlaeger, 49, is currently a vice-president in charge of overseeing credit institutions at the German central bank.
Her background will prove useful as the ECB, formally tasked with monetary policy, this year takes on a new role in supervising the banking system of the 18-member euro zone.

Following the ECB's approval, the nomination must also be given the thumbs up by the European Parliament and then the EU's national leaders have the final say. 

While the governing council is the ECB's main decision-making body, it is the six-member executive board that is responsible for the day-to-day running of the central bank. Its members serve for a single term of eight years.

Lautenschlaeger's appointment comes after a long-running dispute with Parliament over the appointment of Luxembourg central bank chief Yves Mersch to the executive board when many MEPs wanted to see a woman get the post.

Eurozone finance ministers named Mersch in July but he was only confirmed in the position in November. 

The last woman on the ECB board was Austrian Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell between 1998 and 2011 who was replaced by Peter Praet of Belgium in preference to Slovakian Elena Kohutikova.