The International Monetary Fund is expected to name former French Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn as its new managing director Friday.

Strauss-Kahn is virtually guaranteed to get the top job at the IMF since the U.S. threw its support behind him last week.

A Western European has traditionally been the managing director of the IMF since it was formed over 60 years ago, and an American traditionally heads the World Bank.

Russia attempted to challenge the traditional process by nominating another candidate, Josef Tosovsky, a former Czech finance minister. Many developing countries are also calling for reform of the IMF.

The main job of the IMF is to bail out developing countries in economic trouble. But the IMF itself is now facing tough times, including a funding shortage.

The 185-nation organization does not have adequate funds to operate, is facing staff cuts, and is considering selling off its gold reserves.

Various countries, such as China and Brazil, now have access to international capital markets and do not need to borrow funds from the IMF as some countries did in the 1990s.

The current managing director, Rodrigo de Rato of Spain, is resigning for personal reasons in the third year of a five-year term.

The 24 executive directors of the Fund meet today to name the next managing director.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.