Lagarde Pledges to Serve ‘Entire’ IMF Membership

Posted June 28th, 2011 at 7:00 pm (UTC-5)
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The new head of the International Monetary Fund is pledging to serve the institution's “entire membership” with the same focus and spirit as it has during the global financial crisis.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, who was chosen as IMF Managing Director Tuesday, said in a statement the IMF must be “relevant, responsive, effective and legitimate” in order to achieve growth and stability for all the Fund's 187 member nations.

In a separate statement Tuesday, the other top contender, Mexican central bank chief Agustin Carstens, offered his best wishes and support to Lagarde. Carstens also said he hoped Lagarde would help the IMF make “meaningful progress” in strengthening the governance of the institution.

Under a decades-old informal agreement, the head of the IMF has always been a European, and the head of the World Bank an American. Leaders of some emerging major economies have called this tradition “outdated” as Brazil, Russia, India, China and other nations play a large and growing role in the global economy.

But the IMF Executive Board selected Lagarde after she received the endorsement of the United States, Russia, and Brazil.

Lagarde, the first woman to lead the global lender, is an attorney and has been France's finance minister since 2007. Previously, she was her country's minister for foreign trade for two years. Her five-year term at the IMF begins July 5

She is filling a post made vacant when former Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned after being arrested in New York on sexual assault charges, which he denies.

The IMF gives loans and technical advice to countries with economic problems, and has been playing a role in bailing out Greece.