Christine Lagarde has been appointed the head of the International Monetary Fund after a marathon of political horse-trading over one of the world’s most important roles. Australia waded into the debate on 25th June by announcing their support for Agustín Carstens with Christine Lagarde as a second choice.
Christine Lagarde’s five-year term as IMF Managing Director and Madame Chairman of the Executive Board will begin on 5th July 2011. The 24-member Executive Board of the IMF selected Mme Lagarde following the resignation of Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn. She is the first woman to hold the position since the IMF was created in 1944.
Governments around the world have welcomed the appointment of the former French Finance Minister, including supporters of the other main contender, Dr. Agustin Carstens:
“The Government of Mexico congratulates Mrs. Christine Lagarde on her appointment as new Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and wishes her success in carrying out her duties at the head of the agency.
“Her career and proven leadership abilities are a solid foundation to lead the fund in the complex circumstances being experienced by the economy, a task that will have strong support from Mexico.”
For her part, Ms Lagarde expressed her deep respect for Dr Carstens and also set our her vision for the future of the IMF:
“As I have had the opportunity to say to the IMF Board during the selection process, the IMF must be relevant, responsive, effective, and legitimate, to achieve stronger and sustainable growth, macroeconomic stability, and a better future for all.”
In her new job, Ms Lagarde will assume overall responsibility for over 2,700 staff and programmes involving 187 member countries.
Ms Lagarde has worked as an anti-trust and labour lawyer, serving as a partner with the international law firm of Baker & McKenzie, where the partnership elected her as chairman in October 1999. She held the top post at the firm until June 2005 when she was appointed to her initial ministerial post in France. Ms. Lagarde has degrees from Institute of Political Studies (IEP) and from the Law School of Paris X University, where she also lectured prior to joining Baker & McKenzie in 1981.