IMF board starts search for Strauss-Kahn successor

19th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The International Monetary Fund on Thursday launched a search for a successor to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, within hours after the IMF chief resigned to face sex charges in New York.

"The dean of the IMF executive board is initiating contacts with his colleagues today about the selection process for the managing director," IMF spokesman William Murray said.

The dean of the 24-member executive board is Abdel Shakour Shaalan, an Egyptian who represents the Arab states on the 24-member governing board.

The board's 24 members represent the 187 IMF member nations, either as individuals for the largest economies and IMF shareholders like the United States, or for regional groupings of smaller economies.

The 24 directors have votes weighted by the size of their country's or region's subscription to the Fund.

Acting IMF managing director John Lipsky earlier announced the board would begin the search Thursday.

"This is the responsibility of the membership, not the staff, not the management," he added.

Strauss-Kahn quit his job in a statement released by the IMF board at midnight Wednesday, four days after he was arrested in New York on charges of sexually assaulting and attempting to rape a chambermaid at the luxury Sofitel hotel in New York.

Strauss-Kahn denied the charges.

The leadership vacuum at the powerful institution, which makes loans to struggling economies, has prompted cries from the developing world for an end to the gentleman's agreement between the US and Europe that a European fills the post, and an American heads the World Bank.

Lobbying has already begun over the post, which has been occupied by a European since 1945. Many developing economies have called for a chief from elsewhere, with former Turkish finance minister Kemal Dervis the non-European favorite.

The swift move to launch a search came after the United States, the Fund's biggest stakeholder, called for an open, prompt selection and said it was neutral on a possible successor.

"As acting managing director, John Lipsky will provide able and experienced leadership to the Fund at this critical time for the global economy," US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a statement.

"We want to see an open process that leads to a prompt succession for the Fund's new managing director."

Geithner's comments came amid global speculation about who will become the next managing director of the IMF after Strauss-Kahn resigned late Wednesday to fight sex charges in New York.

At a conference at the IMF's Washington headquarters, the head of the Treasury's international affairs indicated the Obama administration was keeping its options open.

"We haven't taken a position on any particular candidate," Lael Brainard said.

Brainard was responding to a question of whether the US supports a certain candidate, and in particular the apparent European favorite for the job, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde.

© 2011 AFP

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