Lagarde Pledges to Move Forward with IMF Reforms

Posted July 6th, 2011 at 10:55 am (UTC-5)
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The new head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has pledged to move forward with reforms to give emerging economies more influence at the lending organization.

Speaking Wednesday in her first news conference as IMF chief, the former French finance minister said the world economy is rebounding from the financial crisis, but unevenly, with emerging-market economies like China and India growing faster than those of developed nations.

She said the “world is going to continue to change,” and acknowledged that such changes need to be reflected in the “composition of governance and employment at the fund.”

Representatives of some countries had wanted a candidate from an emerging economy to become the new IMF chief, but Lagarde’s selection continued the tradition of a European heading the institution.

Lagarde was chosen as IMF Managing Director last week and began her five-year term on Tuesday.

She is replacing fellow French national Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned the IMF post in May after being arrested in New York on charges he sexually assaulted a hotel maid, an allegation he denies.

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

The 55-year-old Lagarde is the first woman to lead the global lender. The former lawyer had been France’s finance minister since 2007, earning widespread respect for her leadership during the financial crisis.

Lagarde helped lead negotiations last year that combined European Union and IMF funds to bail out heavily-indebted countries such as Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

The IMF gives loans and technical advice to countries with economic problems. Lagarde told the news conference the IMF board will meet Friday to discuss the next round of aid to Greece.