IMF appoints first female chief

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 June, 2011, 12:00am



What has happened? French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has been named the first-ever female chief of the International Monetary Fund. Her appointment comes as a new financial crisis in Greece threatens to undermine the stability of the eurozone.


Who is Christine Lagarde? She is a 55-year-old lawyer and a divorced mother of two. She has been France's finance minister since 2007. Lagarde has earned respect for her leadership during the series of financial crises that have rocked Europe over the past three years.


When will she assume power? She will take up the job for a five-year term on July 5.


Where does she stand on issues and why are some countries not happy? The IMF plays a crucial role in aiding countries facing financial difficulties worldwide. Lagarde has promised to work for all the Fund's 187 member states during these challenging times. Yet some emerging powers fear she may favour Europe in her decisions.


Why does the IMF need a new chief? The Fund's previous head, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is also French, resigned abruptly on May 18 after being arrested in New York. Police charged him with assaulting a hotel maid.


How is the IMF chief chosen? Lagarde was chosen over Mexican Central Bank head Agustin Carstens after the US endorsed her appointment. IMF chiefs are selected through a secretive process. Europe and the US have a crucial say over who gets to be the IMF's head. Europe has had a lock on the Fund's top job for 65 years. Critics have been pressing for more openness in the workings of the Fund.