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He is the man Italians are hoping will help get the country out of its $2.7 trillion debt hole and kick-start its stagnant economy.

Mario Monti, Italy's new prime minister, is tasked with leading a new unity government and guiding Italy through tough austerity measures laid out by his predecessor, Silvio Berlusconi.

Known as a calm but tough negotiator, Monti was the European Union’s competition commissioner for four years, between 1999 to 2004 when, notably, he brought Microsoft to trial before the European Court of Justice in an anti-trust case.

Monti was also professor of economics at Bocconi University in Milan, one of Italy's top economic schools and has held positions at various think tanks, as well as acting as an advisor to companies including Goldman Sachs and Coca-Cola.

Yet Monti's appointment as prime minister marks his first job in government, with Italy not due to hold elections for another two years.

Al Jazeera's Richard Martin reports.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies