Kristalina Georgieva, who is currently the World Bank chief executive and a Bulgarian national, was nominated on 2 August by European governments for the position of IMF managing director (MD). However, as pointed out in a previous IMFBoss blog, Georgieva is 65 years old, meaning that the IMF would need to change its MD age limit rules for the board to officially appoint her as the new head of the Fund.
It was already reported in the Financial Times on 26 July that France had floated the idea of changing the age limit, but that the idea did not attract support from the board at the time. The article added that, “Nonetheless, people familiar with the matter said the age limit could still be tweaked at a later stage if Ms Georgieva emerged as the board’s choice.”
While officially, governments can still nominate candidates until 6 September, after which an “open, merit-based, and transparent selection process” should take place to suss out the very best candidate, upon Kristalina’s European nomination it seems the IMF executive board is already paving the way for her to assume the leadership position.
The statement continued: “The IMF Board of Governors, which represents the 189 member countries according to their voting shares , is requested to vote on the proposal. A simple majority of the votes cast is required to adopt the proposal, with a minimum participation requirement of a majority of Governors holding two-thirds of the total voting power. Voting is scheduled to run from August 21 to September 4.”
On 21 August the IMF board issued a statement noting that, “The Executive Board has today recommended that the IMF Board of Governors vote to remove the age limit that currently applies to the position of IMF Managing Director. Since 1951, the IMF’s By-Laws have prohibited the appointment of a candidate aged 65 or over as Managing Director, and have also prohibited the Managing Director from serving past his/her 70th birthday. Eliminating the age limit would bring the Managing Director’s terms of appointment into line with those of members of the IMF Executive Board, which the Managing Director chairs, and those of the President of the World Bank Group, who are not subject to an age limit.”