IMF managing director selected for second term

WASHINGTON – The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) executive board on Friday selected Bulgarian economist Kristalina Georgieva to serve as managing director for a second five-year term, starting on October 1 this year, the global lender said.

“The Board commended Georgieva’s strong and agile leadership during her term, navigating a series of major global shocks,” it said in a statement. Georgieva had been the only candidate for the job.

European Union finance ministers last month endorsed Georgieva for a second term at the helm of the lender of last resort, virtually assuring her approval. Traditionally, European countries recommend the managing director of the IMF and the United States recommends the head of the World Bank.

Georgieva said she was grateful to the board and honoured to be selected for a second term, and said she looked forward to continuing to working with the IMF’s “exceptional” staff.

“In recent years, the IMF has helped our member countries to navigate successive shocks, including the pandemic, war and conflicts, and a cost-of-living crisis,” she said. “We also stepped up our work on climate change, fragility and conflict, and the digital transition, in line with their increased significance for macroeconomic and financial stability, growth and employment.”

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she looked forward to working with Georgieva to strengthen the IMF’s support of low-income countries and support the broader membership through well-designed IMF lending programmes.

“The IMF plays an important and unique role in the international monetary system. Through its policy advice, lending, and capacity building, the IMF helps countries to restore macroeconomic stability and strengthen growth prospects,” she said.

Georgieva is the second woman to head the IMF and the first person from an emerging market economy. She is the IMF’s 12th managing director since its founding in 1944.

A self-described “eternal optimist”, Georgieva has led the lender through huge shocks to the global economy, from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic just months after she took office to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, 2022.

She drew criticism inside and outside the IMF early on for her push to include climate change as a factor in surveillance reports on member countries’ economies and her focus on emerging market and developing economies.

She has been instrumental in securing large loans for Ukraine, overseen a revamp of Argentina’s massive loan programme and worked steadily to help China embrace sovereign debt restructurings.

She also survived a personal challenge in 2021 when the IMF’s executive board expressed its full confidence in her after reviewing allegations that she pressured staff to alter data to favour China while working at the World Bank. (Reuters)

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