IMF board expresses full confidence in Christine Lagarde’s leadership
The International Monetary Fund on Monday stated that it retains “full confidence” in Christine Lagarde’s ability to continue to lead the international organization, despite her conviction for negligence in a French court.
The Fund’s Board met in the wake of the court’s decision finding her guilty in a 2008 case dating back to her tenure as French Finance Minister. It took into account several factors including her “outstanding leadership of the Fund and the wide respect and trust for her leadership globally.”
“The Executive Board in this context reaffirms its full confidence in the Managing Director Christine Lagarde’s ability to continue to effectively carry out her duties,” the board said in an official statement.
“The Executive Board looks forward to continuing to work with the Managing Director Christine Lagarde to address the difficult challenges faced by the global economy.”
Shorty after the IMF statement Ms. Christine Lagarde told reporters that while she was not satisfied with the court decision, she would not appeal further.
“There comes a point in time when one just has to stop, turn the page, and move on and continue to work with those who have put their trust in me,” Ms. Christine Lagarde said. “I will put all my energies and enthusiasm into this role.”
She also thanked the board and IMF staff for their support during this “painful” process.
Support from France and U.S.
The French government earlier on Monday expressed its confidence in Ms. Christine Lagarde, continuing at the helm of the IMF, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew issued an official statement of support immediately after the Board decision.
“The United States joins the IMF Executive Board in reaffirming our full support of Managing Director Lagarde,” Mr. Lew stated. “She is a strong leader of the IMF, and we have full confidence in her ability to guide the Fund at a critical time for the global economy.”
The French court found Ms. Lagarde guilty of negligence over a massive payout to the tycoon Bernard Tapie in 2008, but she will not be fined or face prison, or will the decision create a criminal record.
The case stemmed from Christine Lagarde’s decision in 2007 to allow a dispute over sale of the Adidas sports brand to the state-owned Credit Lyonnais bank to be resolved by a private arbitration panel, and then failing to challenge the result.
The court cleared her of negligence over her decision to refer the matter to arbitration but upheld the charge over her failure to contest the award.
She noted that the public prosecutor had sought to have the charges dismissed.
The case was another instance of controversy surrounding an IMF Managing Director. Ms. Christine Lagarde was named to lead the organization in July 2011 after her predecessor Dominique Strauss-Kahn, also a former French Finance Minister, was forced to resign amid a sex scandal.
The first woman to head the IMF, Ms. Lagarde presided over some of the worst of the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis and is in her second term as Managing Director.
She was reappointed in February, despite the ongoing legal troubles.