Wim F. Duisenberg (born July 9, 1935 in Heerenveen) is a Dutchman. He was the first president of the European Central Bank from June 1, 1998 until October 31, 2003. He announced on February 7, 2002 that he will resign on his 68th birthday (July 9, 2003), but he agreed to stay longer until his succession is decided - actually, until his designated successor, Jean-Claude Trichet, the governor of the Banque de France is acquitted of charges of fraud in connection with the collapse of the French bank Credit Lyonnais.
Duisenberg left high school at age 19 to study economics at the University of Groningen, majoring in internation economical relations and graduating at age 26. Four years later, in 1965, he got his PhD, the title of his thesis being "The Economical Consequences of Disarmament".
In the same year he joined the Europe Division of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, where he stayed 4 years. After a 1 year stint as counselor of the director of De Nederlandsche Bank, the Dutch central bank in Amsterdam, he became professor of the University of Amsterdam teaching macro economics.
Three years later, in 1973, he became minister of finance under prime minister Joop den Uyl, until he left the cabinet in 1977. Shortly afterwards, he gave back his seat in the Dutch parliament to become vice president of the Rabobank Nederland, the biggest Dutch private bank. Two years later, he was appointed director of the Dutch central bank, becoming its president from 1982 to 1997.