Last week was Christine Lagarde’s first week as the new managing director of The International Monetary Fund (IMF). Only days ago Lagarde was the Finance Minister of France and has now taken her place as the 11th consecutive European and, more importantly, the first woman to ever head the IMF.
The Wall Street Journal published an article, “Lagarde Vows to Diversify Voices at IMF,” written by Sudeep Reddy that reported Lagarde’s pledge to diversify the institution and give emerging marketers a greater voice within it. In addition, in a recent interview with Stephanie Flanders, Lagarde had said that her main priority is to engage as many people as possible. She understands that there are multiple talents, extremely smart individuals, and a lot of expertise, a lot of background on difficulties and ways to recover or ways not to recover.
Lagarde is coming in to this global leader position at a time of economic crisis and has said the IMF’s attention is urgently needed as the world struggles with an uneven economic recovery. She plans to differentiate her style of leading from that of her predecessor, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, to a management style focused more on inclusiveness and team-mindedness. She stressed that she wants to diversify the fund not just in terms of race and gender but also by culture and academic background “so that people are not clones of each other.” She would also not be biased and no special treatment would be given to any of its members as she works through Europe’s debt crisis.
Some concern had been expressed with Lagarde’s background and the fact that this is another European leading the IMF. Leaders of some countries, like South Africa and Mexico, had argued that the next IMF chief should have come from a developing economy. Others were concerned with the fact that she is a lawyer by training, not an economist. Lagarde had made it a point to give the developing nations more influence in the IMF and with respect to her background, Lagarde said this, “Not all conductors know how to play the piano, the harp, the violin or the cello, so I’ll try to be a good conductor.” Lagarde is more than qualified and many say it would be difficult to find a better candidate.
Lagarde has a lot to bring to the table and this new perspective may be just what the doctor ordered! Let Vision2020 know your thoughts on the new managing director, Christine Lagarde!