Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, was criticised in the past for a slow response to the economic downturn, but his recent moves have silenced those critics. Trichet led a number of quick, nimble moves to bolster the euro-zone economy while navigating challenges unique to the ECB -- specifically that it has no supervisory authority over financial institutions and must deal with more than a dozen independent nations, which control the purse strings.

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