VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis appointed the former president of the European Central Bank to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences Friday.

The pope named Mario Draghi July 10 as one of three new members of the pontifical academy founded in 1994 by Pope John Paul II to promote the study of social sciences.

Draghi, 72, is an Italian economist best known for serving as president of the European Central Bank (ECB) from 2011 to 2019. 

When he took over the helm of the ECB, he was faced with the European sovereign debt crisis. There were fears that mounting debt problems could force countries such as Italy, Spain and Greece to exit the eurozone.  

In a 2012 speech, Draghi famously said that the ECB would do “whatever it takes” to preserve the euro during the crisis. The phrase is credited with helping to save the currency. As a result of his interventions, he earned the nickname “Super Mario.”

He will serve as an “ordinary member” of the pontifical academy, along with the Chilean sociologist Pedro Morandé Court and Kokunre Adetokunbo Agbontaen Eghafona, a sociology and anthropology professor at the University of Benin, Nigeria, who were also appointed July 10. 

The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences is one of 10 pontifical academies in Vatican City. Its headquarters is the Casina Pio IV, a villa in the Vatican Gardens, and its current president is another Italian economist, Stefano Zamagni.