French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde on Tuesday clinched the top job at the IMF, keeping the international lender in the hands of a European at a time of growing concern over a possible Greek debt default.
Lagarde will become the first woman to head the International Monetary Fund when her five-year term as managing director begins on July 5. She will find herself immediately immersed in efforts by the IMF and European Union to head off a Greek default that could touch off an international crisis.
“The executive board, after considering all relevant information on the candidacies, proceeded to select Ms. Lagarde by consensus,” the IMF said in a statement.
Lagarde, 55, succeeds Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned from the IMF in May to defend himself against charges of sexual assault against a New York hotel maid. He has denied the charges.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the news “a victory for France,” while Lagarde said she was “deeply honored.”