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Kristalina Georgieva emerges as new IMF MD

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday selected Kristalina Georgieva to serve as IMF Managing Director and Chair of the Executive Board for a five-year term starting on October 1, 2019.

Ms. Georgieva, who succeeds Christine Lagarde, is the first person from an emerging market economy to lead the IMF since its inception in 1944.

The IMF in its Press Release No.19/351 made available to our correspondent, disclosed that, the selection of Ms. Georgieva by the 24-member Executive Board representing the IMF’s 189 member countries brings to a conclusion the selection process initiated by the Executive Board on July 26, 2019.

Following interviews with Ms. Georgieva, Executive Directors selected her for the position, effective October 1.

The Managing Director is the chief of the IMF’s operating staff and Chair of the Executive Board. The Managing Director is assisted by four Deputy Managing Directors in the operation of the Fund, which serves its membership through about 2,700 staff.

Ms. Georgieva, a national of Bulgaria, has been the Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank since January 2017. From February 1, 2019 to April 8, 2019, she was the Interim President for the World Bank Group. Starting in 2010, she was at the European Commission, serving as Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, then as Vice President for Budget and Human Resources. Ms. Georgieva has a Ph.D. in Economic Science and a M.A. in Political Economy and Sociology from the University of National and World Economy in Bulgaria, where she also taught from 1977 to 1991.

Meanwhile, Kristalina Georgieva in a statement yesterday on Her Selection as IMF Managing Director, made available to our correspondent said “I am deeply honored to have been selected as Managing Director of the IMF and grateful for the trust that the Fund’s global membership and the Executive Board have placed in me. I want to pay tribute to my predecessor, Christine Lagarde, a great leader and a dear friend, whose vision and tireless work have contributed so much to the continued success of the Fund.

“The IMF is a unique institution with a great history and a world-class staff. I come as a firm believer in its mandate to help ensure the stability of the global economic and financial system through international cooperation. Indeed, in my view, the Fund’s role has never been more important.

“It is a huge responsibility to be at the helm of the IMF at a time when global economic growth continues to disappoint, trade tensions persist, and debt is at historically high levels. As I noted in my statement to the Executive Board, our immediate priority is to help countries minimize the risk of crises and be ready to cope with downturns. Yet, we should not lose sight of our long-term objective – to support sound monetary, fiscal and structural policies to build stronger economies and improve people’s lives. This means also dealing with issues like inequalities, climate risks and rapid technological change.

“For our readiness to act, safeguarding the Fund’s financial strength is essential, and so are enhancing its surveillance and capacity development efforts. Working with my team, my goal is to further strengthen the Fund by making it even more forward-looking and attentive to the needs of our members.

“I look forward to working with all our 189-member countries, the Executive Board and staff, and with all our partners in the years ahead.”

Before joining the Fund, Ms. Georgieva was CEO of the World Bank from January 2017 to September 2019, during which time she also served as Interim President of the World Bank Group for three months.

Previously, Ms. Georgieva helped shape the agenda of the European Union. She served as European Commission Vice President for Budget and Human Resources, overseeing the EU’s €161 billion (US $175bn) budget and 33,000 staff. In that capacity, she was deeply involved in efforts to address the Euro Area debt crisis and the 2015 refugee crisis. Before that, she was Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, managing one of the world’s largest humanitarian aid budgets.

Prior to joining the European Commission, Ms. Georgieva worked for 17 years at the World Bank, culminating in her appointment as Vice President and Corporate Secretary in 2008. In this role, she served as the interlocutor between the World Bank Group’s senior management, its Board of Directors, and its shareholder countries.

She held a number of other senior positions, including World Bank Director for Sustainable Development, World Bank Director for the Russian Federation, based in Moscow, World Bank Director for Environment, and Director for Environment and Social Development for the East Asia and Pacific Region. She joined the World Bank as an environmental economist in 1993.

Ms. Georgieva serves on many international panels including as co-Chair of the Global Commission on Adaptation to climate change, and as co-chair of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing. She has authored and co-authored over 100 publications on environmental and economic policy topics, including textbooks on macro- and microeconomics.

Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1953, Ms. Georgieva holds a Ph.D in Economic Science and a M.A. in Political Economy and Sociology from the University of National and World Economy, Sofia, where she was an Associate Professor between 1977 and 1993. During her academic career, she was visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 2010, she was named “European of the Year” and “Commissioner of the Year” by European Voice for her leadership in the EU’s humanitarian response to crises.

Bonny Amadi

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