News / Economy

New IMF Chief Widely Respected

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, center, stands with ministers as she leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris, after the weekly Cabinet meeting, June 29, 2011
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, center, stands with ministers as she leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris, after the weekly Cabinet meeting, June 29, 2011

The International Monetary Fund's first female head, Christine Lagarde, is considered a tough, competitive and widely respected politician. Lagarde, leaves her job as French finance minister and heads to Washington to head the organization.

Fifty-five-year-old Christine Lagarde is an elegant and imposing presence on the French and European landscape. She has won widespread respect as France's finance minister. And she helped lead the battle against the debt crisis hitting countries sharing the euro currency.

Choosing Lagarde as the International Monetary Fund's new boss was a foregone conclusion after she won the backing of the IMF's heavyweights - the United States, Russia, China and the Europeans.  Hours before the vote, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner praised what he called her "exceptional talent and broad experience."

Analyst Dominique Moisi, of the Paris-based French Institute of International Relations, agrees Lagarde has what is takes to be the Fund's next chief.

"She's a strong, convincing, reliable lady who has an extremely good international image, with English that is perfect," said Moisi.

Observers say one of Lagarde's biggest strengths is that she is a woman in a male-dominated institution. More than that - she is the IMF's first female managing director. Her predecessor, fellow Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn, resigned last month after being charged with sexually assaulting a hotel employee.

Unlike Strauss-Kahn, Lagarde is not a trained economist. But another French Institute analyst, Philippe Moreau Defarges, says she'll be able to handle one of the IMF's biggest headaches - the financial meltdown in Greece, which threatens to spread to other eurozone countries.

"She's up to the task for one reason; around her are many people who are up to the task and there are many people who are ready and able to help her," he said.

The top IMF job has traditionally gone to a European. Emerging economies now want one of their own to take the helm. But they failed to unite behind Lagarde's only challenger - Mexican central banker Agustin Carstens.

Nongovernmental groups like Oxfam International have also criticized what they consider an opaque and undemocratic IMF election process.  Now, says Oxfam France's general director Luc Lampriere, Lagarde must be willing to give emerging economies a major say.

"It puts a very big pressure on Christine Lagarde as director now to really decide and play a key role in changing this forever," he said.

Analyst Moreau Defarges, for one, believes Lagarde will listen to developing countries.  But he has not doubt she has a tough job ahead of her.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7893
JPY
USD
107.68
GBP
USD
0.6238
CAD
USD
1.1214
INR
USD
61.185

Rates may not be current.