Monday, July 9, 2007

IMF: Who Will Be the Next Managing Director?

European Finance Ministers are gathering in Brussels today for Eurogroup discussions (ministers from the Eurozone) and tomorrow for an Economic and Financial Affairs meeting of the EU Council (Ecofin). One topic for discussion will be the selection of the next Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. Since the first Managing Director was named in 1946, the position has always gone to a European national, and EU officials believe the choice of Rodrigo de Rato's successor is theirs to make. (In the wake of the U.S. choice of Robert Zoellick as World Bank President, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has indicated that the United States will not dispute the traditional right of the Europeans to make the IMF pick.) French President Nicolas Sarkozy has strongly endorsed Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and apparently the former Socialist finance minister has German support as well. Developing countries, which have increasingly sought to end the U.S. and European monopoly on high-level appointments at the IMF and World Bank, have reportedly called for a meeting of the IMF Executive Board this week to discuss the process of selecting a new Managing Director.