Carstens states his case for the top job

Carstens’ presentation to the IMF board reads like a power play in challenging the legitimacy of the Fund and their commitment to a transparent and merit-based selection process.

Lagarde will no doubt benefit from Carstens’ statement being made public before she meets with the board on Thursday. Still, Carstens sure to have the Lagarde camp working overtime produce a convincing declaration of her suitability for the post.

It started in May with an eight page curriculum vitae of sorts in which he spelled out why he should get the job, starting:

To facilitate the transparent and merit-based selection process, I hereby offer an overview of my professional background; economic policymaking record; managerial and diplomatic skills, with particular attention to multilateral cooperation; understanding of the Fund and the policy challenges facing the Fund´s diverse membership; and, in closing, my strategic vision for the institution.

Long-time readers of the blog will no doubt be interested to see how it compares to the candidate assessments offered by some of his critics…

Throughout there are digs at the European stitch up such as: “we need a Managing Director who can best serve all of the member countries, not merely those experiencing challenges at one particular point in time.”

Although not holding back on praising the Fund – after all, he is interviewing for the top job – he takes time to lay out what he sees as its “four remaining fundamental weaknesses”:

1/ Governance, where he talks about raising the number of executive board chairs held by emerging markets, reforming quota distribution in favour of emerging markets and the process for selecting management.

There has been consensus at the G-20 and at the International Monetary and Finance Committee (IMFC) for several years (at least since 2005) that the MD selection process should be transparent, fair, merit-based, and independent of nationality. It is high time we deliver on this agreement.

2/ Crisis prevention, and the ability to perform appropriate surveillance (both at the national and multilateral levels)

3/ The capacity to effectively support crisis resolution

4/ The competence to induce policy coordination at the global level.


Check back for a critical assessment of both Carstens’ and Largarde’s statements to the board. The winning candidate will face pressure to honour any promises and commitments made so will be choosing their words carefully. We look forward to seeing what Lagarde has to say come the end of the week.


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