labels: international monetary fund
Strauss-Kahn, former French minister, named new IMF managing director news
29 September 2007

Mumbai: Former French finance minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn will succeed Rodrigo Rato of Spain as the new head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Mr Rato, who took office in May 2004, announced in late June he was stepping down in October for personal reasons.

Strauss-Kahn won by a convinsing majority over Russia''s nominee, former Czech prime minister and central bank governor, Josef Tosovsky.

The 58-year-old former French presidential candidate will begin his five-year term as IMF managing director on 1 November.

IMF''s 24-member board of member countries made the decision in Washington in two stages that included a secret straw poll and a formal vote.

Strauss-Kahn promised to undertake an immediate reform of the International Monetary Fund to help boost its legitimacy and relevance.

He also pledged to reform the institution to make it more representative of its 185 members and to strengthen its monitoring of economies.

"I am determined to pursue without delay the reforms needed for the IMF to make financial stability serve the international community, while fostering growth and employment," he said in a statement released in Paris.

His nomination puts a Frenchman at the helm at the IMF, alongside Pascal Lamy at the Geneva-based World Trade Organisation, Jean-Claude Trichet at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt and Jean Lemierre at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London.

"France is no passionaria of globalisation," French daily Le Monde said in an article ahead of Strauss-Kahn''s nominaton. "But it is over-represented in this world of international economic and financial institutions. Is there something in the French DNA for this kind of job?"

But, the suave architect of France''s economic recovery in the late 1990s, known as "DSK," is no stranger to difficult tasks. A formidable debater, Strauss-Kahn is equally comfortable talking the language of politics or economics - in English, French or German.

In Paris, French president Sarkozy said he had telephoned Strauss-Kahn, who is visiting Chile, to congratulate him on his election.

"I know he will make the grade and now we need to work to make the IMF an organisation that will do even more to help the developing nations that need it," he added.

He also thanked a wide range of countries that supported Strauss-Kahn''s candidacy including Germany, Britain, the United States, China and India.

IMF, which has once been at the centre of financial crises in Asia and Latin America, saw its role change amid global economic calm where there has been less need for its emergency loans.

The IMF''s mission to bail out countries in crisis has been eclipsed by the newfound riches of former clients in the 1990s, such as Russia, Indonesia, South Korea, Argentina and Mexico, many of which have paid off their IMF debt.

In recent years, the IMF has searched for new missions for its 2,700 employees, including efforts to help poor countries, but with little effect.

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Strauss-Kahn, former French minister, named new IMF managing director