IMF has new chief
WASHINGTON — French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde was chosen today to lead the International Monetary Organization and will immediately confront a European debt crisis that threatens the global economy.
Lagarde will be the first female managing director of the 66-year-old global lending organization and the 11th European. Next week, she will begin a five-year term.
Among her challenges, she will have to prod fellow Europeans to take painful steps to prevent a default by Greece. She’ll face pressure from developing nations that want a greater voice at the IMF. And she’ll be looked upon to restore the IMF’s reputation, which was tarred by a scandal involving Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the man she’s replacing.
Strauss-Kahn resigned last month after being charged with sexually assaulting a New York City hotel housekeeper. He has denied the charges.
“I am deeply honored by the trust placed in me,” Lagarde said in a statement in Paris after the vote Tuesday. “I would like to thank the fund’s global membership warmly for the broad-based support I have received.”
Lagarde was chosen by consensus, the IMF said in a statement.
Her selection became all but assured once the Obama administration endorsed her earlier Tuesday. Hours later, the IMF’s 24-member board voted to appoint her. She had also won support from Europe, China and Russia. Mexico’s Agustin Carstens challenged her, but his candidacy never caught fire. (AP)