Lagarde signs on the dotted line, gears up for first press conference

On the day of her appointment the IMF made public Lagarde’s contract, it’s interesting to examine the differences between hers’ and the one signed by her predecessor DSK…

Most are expected and unremarkable, some changes to language regarding parter/spouse and an updated salary. But papers were quick to pick up on the additional clause committing Lagarde to observe rules regarding her ethical conduct:

As managing director, you are expected to observe the highest standards of ethical conduct, consistent with the values of integrity, impartiality and discretion. You shall strive to avoid even the appearance of impropriety in your conduct.

This includes taking part in the Fund’s ethics training programme. The clause also deals more explicitly with conflicts of interest, both internal and external.

In the performance of your duties as Managing Director, you have an exclusive duty of loyalty to the Fund and shall avoid any conflict of interest or the appearance of such a conflict.

Interestingly, given that it was known by all that DSK intended to run for the French presidency, clause 2 (d) is extended to clarify:

you will not, in your personal capacity, attend political party meetings, assume any leadership role within a political party, or otherwise engage in partisan political activity.

As Alan Beattie comments, it is hard not to see these changes as a response to DSKs indiscretions and political aspirations. On the latter, Beattie mentions a proposal that “IMF MDs should sign a pledge to stay out of elected office for the first five years after they leave the Fund”.

***

Later today Lagarde will hold her first press conference as IMF chief. Kevin Gallagher, professor of international relations at Boston University and Eswar Prasad, a former IMF official now at the Brookings institute ponder the questions she is likely to face and consider her possible responses

Like most, they expect the press to focus on the Eurozone crisis and the expected Greek default. She is likely to face some questions on the selection process and reform of IMF governance. Hopefully she will be pressed to detail what her concrete plans are rather than simply repeating a ‘commitment’ to do something.

We’ll bring you news of what was and wasn’t said…

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