Born in Bari on 6 January 1949. From 10 May 2013 to 9 May 2019, Senior Deputy Governor of the Bank of Italy and President of the Insurance Supervisory Authority (Ivass).
He joined the Bank of Italy in 1976, where he was first assigned to the Supervisory Unit of the Milan regional office, then, in 1979, to the Economic Research Department. He was Head of the Economic Research Department from 2000 to 2006, Managing Director for economic research and international relations from 2007 to 2011, Secretary General of the Bank of Italy and Advisor to the Governing Board for economic policy matters in 2011, and Deputy Governor of the Bank of Italy from January 2012 to May 2013. In 2013 he was called to the "Working Group on Economic, Social and European Issues" (the so-called "Group of Wise Men") established by the President of the Republic.
He graduated in mathematics from the University of Bari in 1975. He won a National Research Council fellowship for applied mathematics. He was visiting scholar at the IMF and the Department of Economics of MIT.
He is a member of the Foundation Board of the International Center for Monetary and Banking Studies in Geneva, the Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance, the Istituto Affari Internazionali, member of the Advisory Board of Italian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AIFI), member of the Board of Governors of the Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, Senior Fellow at the LUISS School of European Political Economy and member of the Steering Committee of the Giorgio Fuà Foundation and of the Advisory Board of the Tor Vergata University Economics Foundation (FUET).
He has held courses and seminars at various universities, notably Tor Vergata University in Rome and Aldo Moro University in Bari. He is the author of many essays: Competere in Europa (ed.), Il Mulino, Bologna, 1993; La bilancia dei pagamenti: i conti con l'estero dell'Italia, la lira, i problemi dell'unione monetaria europea, with R.S. Masera, CEDAM, Padua, 1993; La politica economica italiana 1968-1998, Laterza, Rome-Bari 1998, revised editions 2000, 2003, 2007; La nuova economia: i fatti dietro il mito (ed.), Il Mulino, Bologna, 2003; La regina e il cavallo. Quattro mosse contro il declino, Laterza, Roma - Bari, 2006; Controtempo. L'Italia nella crisi mondiale, Laterza, Roma - Bari, 2009; Processo alla finanza, Laterza, Roma - Bari, 2013; Che cosa sa fare l'Italia, with A. Giunta, Laterza, Roma - Bari, 2017; and Oro, Il Mulino, Bologna, 2018.