|French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. June 23, 2011, at the IMF headquarters in Washington, DC. IMF Photograph/Stephen Jaff|
Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister,
was appointed on Tuesday as the next chief of the International Monetary Fund.
is the first woman named to the top IMF post since the institution’s founding 66
The first female finance minister of a large country, won recognition for her
handling of the fallout from the financial crisis.
She is not an economist and in announcing her candidacy last month, she said
she'd bring "all my expertise as a lawyer, a minister, a manager and a woman"
to the job.
is the first woman named to the top IMF post since the institution’s inception
The new managing director is assisted by three deputy managing directors in the
operation of the Fund, which serves 187 member countries through about 2,700
staff from more than 140 countries.
Lagarde, 55, a former champion swimmer. has been the French finance minister
since June 2007. Prior to that, she served as France’s minister for foreign
trade for two years. Lagarde also has had an extensive career as an anti-trust
and labour lawyer, serving as a partner with the American 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 named to her initial
ministerial post in France.
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.
Christine Lagarde issued the following statement on Tuesday:
"The executive board of the International Monetary Fund has
just selected me to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as managing director for a
five-year term, starting on July 5. I am deeply honoured by the trust placed in
me by the executive board. I would like to thank the Fund’s global membership
warmly for the broad-based support I have received. I would also like to express
my respect and esteem for my colleague and friend, Agustín Carstens (the
governor of the Bank of Mexico who was also seeking the position).
“The IMF has served its 187 member countries well during the global economic and
financial crisis, transforming itself in many positive ways. I will make it my
overriding goal that our institution continues to serve its entire membership
with the same focus and the same spirit. 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.”
Eduardo Leite, chairman of Baker &
McKenzie's executive committee, paid tribute to Madame. Lagarde: "After joining Baker & McKenzie in 1981, Christine Lagarde
demonstrated the essential qualities of an exceptional leader, including
intellect, discipline, diplomacy, humanity and more. She had a global
perspective and was at home in every culture and country. She was a good
listener and consensus-builder, yet decisive.
She was warm, friendly and outgoing,
consistently showing grace and humanity. These positive qualities and many
others helped Christine to earn the trust, respect and admiration of our
clients, lawyers and professional staff around the world. As the first female
chair of a global law firm and an effective, inspiring leader, Christine took
Baker & McKenzie to new heights, leaving a lasting impression on our Firm and on
the legal profession."