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”.

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Press release: Reaction to the appointment of Christine Lagarde as head of the IMF

In response to the news that the IMF has selected Christine Lagarde to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn as Managing Director of the IMF, Jesse Griffiths, Coordinator of the Bretton Woods Project has said:

“The Europeans have shamefully held onto control of the Fund in a well orchestrated stitch-up. Unfortunately, the outcome was clear long before the selection process officially started, once the Europeans decided to use their unfair over-representation at the Fund to force through their candidate.”

“There was a shocking lack of transparency to the whole process with no public interviews held and Board decisions once again made behind closed doors.”

Nick Dearden, Director of the Jubilee Debt Campaign adds:

“The nature of Lagarde;s selection shows once again how out of touch the IMF is. This further tarnishes the IMF’s legitimacy in a rapidly changing world.”

“This decision is bad news for European countries in crisis: the key architect of disastrous austerity policies in Greece is now at the helm of the Fund and she has already made clear to Greek legislators that they should listen to Northern Europe’s interests, rather than the interests of their own people. The IMF has learnt nothing from the debt crises of the past.”

For information: Jesse Griffiths + 44 (0) 7968 041 747 / jgriffiths@brettonwoodsproject.org

Press release: More than 100 global campaigners call for fair appointment of IMF managing director

Media statement, 23 May 2011

With the announcement of a process to select a new managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a global coalition of 105 campaigners have written an open letter to the Fund’s Board of Governors asking that they choose a candidate who has the backing of the majority of IMF member countries, through an open, merit-based process.

The campaigners, including the Bretton Woods Project, Oxfam, and ActionAid, urged the IMF to break with past practice and “ensure the selection of the best candidate with the legitimacy gained from the support of the wider IMF membership, not just a powerful minority of countries”.

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