January 24, 2018 / 11:43 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Mexico's Congress approves first woman on central bank board

(Adds details on new Pemex CFO)

MEXICO CITY, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Former finance ministry official Irene Espinosa was on Wednesday confirmed by Congress as the first woman to serve on the board of the Mexican central bank, taking the seat previously occupied by the bank's new governor.

Longstanding central bank chief Agustin Carstens stood down at the end of November 2017, and was replaced by board member and deputy governor Alejandro Diaz de Leon.

Espinosa, whose designation was comfortably voted through by the permanent commission of Congress, assumes the seat vacated by Diaz de Leon, the government said.

The sister of former foreign minister Patricia Espinosa, Irene Espinosa is an economist who served as treasurer at the finance ministry from 2009. Before that, Espinosa worked at the Inter-American Development Bank and Mexico's prestigious ITAM university.

The central bank has been battling Mexico's highest inflation in over 16 years. Although inflation slowed in the first half of January, the board is still expected to raise its benchmark lending rate in February.

Separately, Congress also approved the appointment of Miguel Messmacher as new deputy finance minister, and Alberto Torres Garcia as the new deputy minister for revenue.

The reshuffling follows the move of the former director of state-run oil company Pemex, Jose Gonzalez Anaya, to head the finance ministry after Jose Antonio Meade stepped down late last year to seek the presidential candidacy for the ruling party.

Also on Wednesday, new Pemex chief Carlos Trevino named Pemex executive David Ruelas to take over as the company's chief financial officer, subject to approval by the Pemex board, the company said in a statement. (Reporting by Mexico City Newsroom; Editing by Dave Graham and Rosalba O'Brien)

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