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Debate: Who Should Lead the I.M.F.?

The I.M.F. will need strong leadership as it continues to help euro-area countries deal with massive debt problems. Some think it is time the institution picked a non-European boss.

What’s the Latest Development?

The Economist has asked eight guest contributors to weigh in on who should be the new head of the International Monetary Fund. Robert C. McCormack Professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business said: “As you do not want the biggest borrowers to be in charge of administering a bank, why do you want a European to be in charge of the I.M.F.? Thus the next managing director of the IMF should definitely not be a European.” Gilles Saint-Paul, Director of the Centre for Economic Policy Research, said: “Not a politician. … First, there must be an arms’ length relationship between the director and the member countries, in order to reduce the likelihood of bias in I.M.F. intervention.”

What’s the Big Idea?

After the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the I.M.F. on 18 May because of charges that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid in New York, the world’s biggest lender is looking for a replacement. Should the next boss be a politician who has the power to sway governments or a bland policy wonk? Should he or she come from Europe or elsewhere? While some think a European leader is necessary to solve the European debt crisis, others don’t want to risk any conflicts of interest as member states continue to borrow from the Fund. 


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