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article imageFrench Finance Minister Christine Lagarde chosen to lead IMF

By Lynn Herrmann     Jun 29, 2011 in Politics
Washington - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced Christine Lagarde will take over as its Managing Director and Madame Chairman of the Executive Board, the first woman appointed to the top spot since the organization’s inception in 1944.
Ms. Lagarde will assume her five-year term beginning July 5, and will be assisted by three Deputy Managing Directors in the IMF, an institution serving 187 member countries.
Lagarde was chosen to head the IMF over Agustín Carstens, Mexico’s central bank governor.
In her new role as managing director, Lagarde will attempt to move the IMF beyond the recent sex scandal caused when Dominique Strauss-Kahn allegedly assaulted a hotel maid at New York’s Sofitel Hotel last month. After the incident and amid mounting pressure, Strauss-Kahn was forced to resign his post as managing director.
Ms. Lagare, 55 and a native of France,has served as the country’s Minister of Finance since June 2007. Prior to that role, she served two years as Minister of Foreign Trade for France, her initial ministerial post. She preceded those roles as an anti-trust and labor attorney with Baker & McKenzie, an international law firm. She was elected as the firm’s chairman, serving the position from October 1999 until June 2005, when she accepted the Foreign Trade post.
In a statement to the IMF board before her appointment, Lagarde said she would, if selected, build a Fund 


that would be adapted to a changing world; responsive, ready and able to meet all challenges, both foreseeable and unforeseeable; cooperative, listening and coordinating effectively with all stakeholders, and continuously striving to build consensus; legitimate and even-handed, to reflect a changing world.
France has announced Francois Barion as its new Finance Minister, replacing Lagarde. He is currently the country’s budget minister, a position he has held for just over a year. Forbes notes his short stint in that role has not given him enough time to “make a major mark.”
Part of the United Nations, the IMF has its own charter, finances and governing framework. Membership in the IMF results from a quota system based on a country’s relative size in the world’s economy.
On Wednesday, following the appointment of Lagarde, the IMF issued a statement saying US lawmakers should come to an agreement on raising the country’s debt limit, noting
Fiscal policy consolidation needs to proceed as debt dynamics are unsustainable and losing fiscal credibility would be extremely damaging.
The IMF added “significant global repercussions” could occur if US politicians cannot raise the debt ceiling soon enough.
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