Top World Bank Official Tapped As New Chief at International Monetary Fund

September 27, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – Kristalina Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist and top World Bank official, has been named the new head of the International Monetary Fund.

She succeeds Christine Lagarde who is stepping down to take over as head of the European Central Bank.

Georgieva grew up in a Bulgaria that was ruled by communists. Now she will run one of the western world’s leading capitalist institutions, the world’s lender of last resort, providing emergency loans when countries are facing financial crisis.

Speaking to reporters after the Fund’s 24-member board approved her nomination, Georgieva acknowledged she’s taking the helm of the IMF at a time when global growth is slowing, two of the largest economies — the United States and China — are engaged in a worsening trade war, and several countries are dealing with escalating amounts of debt.

“Warning signals are flashing and we must be ready to be tested,” she said. “My immediate priority for the IMF is to help members minimize the risk of crises and be ready to cope with downturns.”

Georgieva, 65, has held the No. 2 post at the World Bank since early 2017. Before that, she served as the European Union’s Commissioner for Human Rights. She will take over at the IMF on Oct. 1.

Since the IMF and World Bank were founded immediately after World War II, the IMF has always been headed by a European while the World Bank has always been led by an American.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration successfully lobbied to get David Malpass, who was then serving in the administration as a top Treasury Department official, confirmed as head of the World Bank.

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