Not 1, but 3 flawed appointments – US and China dividing up the spoils

According to Reuters the IMF is making great progress in filling out its senior management team. It also seems to be setting new records for the number of appointment processes in a single month that can violate the international agreements for all senior management to be appointed through open, transparent, and merit-based processes. It likes like the US and China are already dividing up the spoils.

The US first, with an update on yesterday’s post about Meg Lundsager’s non-appearance for the Lagarde interview with the board. Sources inside the IMF have said that indeed Lundsager, the US executive director, did not attend the board’s interview with Christine Lagarde. We are told she was instead at a meeting at the US Treasury with IMF staff who are conducting the IMF’s annual Article IV consultation – a check up on economic policy that all IMF members undertake. Is that justifiable? Or does it show that really the US had already made up its mind to continue backing the gentleman’s agreement than lets them appoint the World Bank president in exchange for backing a European for the head of the Fund, and so attendance at the interview was optional?

Continue reading “Not 1, but 3 flawed appointments – US and China dividing up the spoils”


Interview with 24 men: little white lie or the US doesn’t care who runs the IMF?

As Christine Lagarde takes office this week she has been playing up the angle that, because she is a woman, change is coming to the IMF. Of course, Lagarde is the first woman to head the Fund, but she is also the 11th white European (out of 11 total) to have the role, and the 5th French national to head the institution. Since 1978, the IMF has been run by a French national for 26 of the last 33 years. I don’t think we can be sure how much change Lagarde will bring to an institution badly in need of a complete overhaul.

After her selection but before taking office Lagarde spoke to French television, saying (as quoted in a widely run Associated Press article):

“While I was being questioned for three hours by 24 men, I thought, ‘It’s good that things are changing a little.'”

Any journalist with any sense of the IMF structures, or the ability to use the Internet to fact check should have been a bit surprised at this statement. Continue reading “Interview with 24 men: little white lie or the US doesn’t care who runs the IMF?”

Christine Lagarde as IMF chief? This is a gift to the fund’s critics

 She may be the first woman boss but she’s no reformer, and won’t address wider equalities to rebalance the global economy

First published by the Guardian on 29 June 2011.

By Peter Chowla

After the last three years of financial crises and bailouts, no one can deny that leadership of an international institution like the International Monetary Fund matters. Previous leaders brought some significant changes to the IMF but did not go nearly far enough. The fund is still giving bad advice to European countries, such as supporting the fantasy that Greece can recover without restructuring its debt, and is continuing to force damaging spending cuts in times of recession. The question now is whether Christine Lagarde’s tenure as managing director of the fund will be any better.

The signs are not good.

Read the rest of the article on the Guardian.


Candidates dropping like flies, will there be European concessions?

Despite a flurry of media reports this morning, Manuel is not running to be head of the IMF. He said “My adrenaline is flowing about South Africa right now – it’s where my focus is.” Many have speculated that he had neither the backing of the South African government nor the backing of other emerging markets, so a bid for the job would have been futile.

UK newspaper the Telegraph also suggests that Grigoriy Marchenko will drop out of the race tonight. While Marchenko, in his interview with the paper, does not directly say he’ll drop out, he does speculate: “There’s a lot of information coming from different sources which is implying that there’s agreement between G8 countries about support for Madame Lagarde, and if countries which together have more than 60pc of the vote have agreed to support one candidate, then it’s more or less a done deal.” The Telegraph extrapolates from this that he will withdraw his name.

Continue reading “Candidates dropping like flies, will there be European concessions?”

Twitter farce exposes Christine Lagarde as unsuitable

Imagine you are sitting in an interview room for a very important job. You have your best pressed suit on, possibly from Chanel. You are trying to demonstrate that you really would be the best candidate for the job. Your interviewers start asking you tough questions about economics, a subject you have never studied in-depth and don’t know much about. Then, one of the interviewers throws you a soft question. Very open-ended, so you can say whatever you like and not sound stupid. What do you do?

Well if you are Christine Lagarde you laugh and refuse to answer. Her Twitter session on Thursday was about the least interesting way possible to find out what Lagarde thinks. And when a questioner asked “What do you see for the future of the IMF?”, Lagarde simply answered “;)!!!!” That is a less than illuminating answer. The IMF boss job will affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world through the policies the IMF demands of its borrowers and the advice it gives to its members. And the leading candidate thinks it is a joke. Continue reading “Twitter farce exposes Christine Lagarde as unsuitable”