Nunzio Galantino, bishop of Cassano allo Jonio in Calabria, as interim secretary-general of the powerful Italian bishops' conference (CEI), the Vatican said Monday. Galantino will serve as interim secretary-general to replace Mariano Crociata who was named bishop of Latina after two mandates at CEI. The interim appointment was "rendered urgent for the regular work schedule of the general secretariat and for a number of procedures that require his presence," said Father Federico Lombardi, the head of the Vatican press office, adding that the length of the mandate has not been decided yet. Galantino was born in the southern town of Cerignola near Foggia in 1948 and was appointed bishop in December 2011. The influential CEI is the only bishops council in the world to have its two top leadership roles, the president and secretary-general, named directly by the pontiff. Vatican watchers say reforms to enable Italian bishops to elect their leaders could be implemented before the end of Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco's term as president in 2017, in which case he may step down amid elections.