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News : Global Economy Last Updated: Jun 29, 2011 - 2:10 PM


Christine Lagarde named next chief of International Monetary Fund; First woman for top IMF post in 66 years
By Finfacts Team
Jun 29, 2011 - 4:45 AM

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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. She is the first woman named to the top IMF post since the institution’s founding 66 years ago.

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.

Christine Lagarde is the first woman named to the top IMF post since the institution’s inception in 1944.

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.

Christine 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."

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© Copyright 2011 by Finfacts.com

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