Italian culture minister Giancarlo Galan has tapped businessman Giulio Malgara as the next president of leading Italian arts organization the Biennale.

The nomination must be voted on and approved by the Italian Senate within 60 days.

If confirmed, Malgara would take over once current Biennale president Paolo Baratta steps down at year’s end at the natural end of his mandate. As President, duties extend to overseeing the six artistic disciplines represented by the Biennale: dance, music, theatre, art, architecture and cinema.

The 73-year-old Malgara is said to have been a top choice of Prime Minister Berlusconi, but it is yet to be seen if he will be accepted by most Venetian politicians. One important test of success for any Biennale president hinges on relationships with local politicians as Veneto’s local government leaders have often struggled to see things eye-to-eye with the Biennale top brass.

“I will take on this challenge with great passion,” La Repubblica reported Malgara as saying as he underscored his “deep ties to Venice.”

Galan released a press statement “deeply thanking” Paolo Baratta for his “precious work.”

Malgara has a background that includes 23 years as president of Utenti Pubblicita Associati (UPA) – a group that represents the most important companies investing in advertising. In 1984, he also founded Auditel, which monitors TV audience data and is still its president. He also founded Audipress, which monitors the newspaper and magazine market. 

Other, early business endeavors include working from 1968 with Gruppo Mars, a leading firm dealing with food products. Malgara in that role brought Quaker Oats to Italy, founding Quaker Italia Spa in 1973.

Baratta, who came from a finance and banking background, ends his tenure at a high point for Venice. Despite its ongoing infrastructure issues that his successor will inherit – the 2011 edition was well received for quality of films and improved services and a re-vamped Sala Grande.

Over all, Baratta has pleased both sides of Italy’s political spectrum, not an easy feat and therefore had a relatively smooth lead over the arts organization. He took the reins after David Croff and has been seen as a harmonious counterpoint to Venice’s artistic director Marco Mueller.

Mueller’s mandate, his second, also expires year’s end. No word has come forth yet as to whether he is to stay on or leave the Biennale.