Business, Economics and Jobs

IMF: No holiday for Lagarde


Christine Lagarde conducts her first press conference as new IMF Managing Director on July 6, 2011, in Washington, DC.


Paul J. Richards

Christine Lagarde is a trailblazing woman. 

She is the first female director, of course, of the International Monetary Fund. She was also the first female chairman of Chicago law firm Baker & McKenzie. As a teenager she was even a member of the French national synchronized swimming team.

So Lagarde's take-charge attitude today at the IMF was hardly surprising.

“I thought it was necessary to come back to D.C. very promptly simply because there are so many issues to address,” Lagarde said at her first news conference as director of the IMF, as reported in the New York Times.

“It cannot wait for another summer holiday. Here I am, and for good.”

The new IMF director will need that suberb work ethic.

Lagarde takes over following the ongoing DSK debacle, and in the midst of the ongoing Greek debt crisis, which now threatens Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland and just about every other European country, too.

So what did Largarde say today about her new gig?


And it was all in very clear English, though I've slightly edited and condensed some of the quotes below for ease of reading.

On the need for a solution to the euro zone crisis:

"It has to be comprehensive, cohesive and not ad hoc, as sometimes has been the case in the past."

On her management style:

My management style is about opening up, reaching out and engaging people working as a team. I can’t do it alone, they can’t do it alone. We have to pull the institution together."

On her lack of professional economics experience:

"I’ve come to this job with an open mind, and with willingness to rely on the advice of people who know their areas. Not all conductors know how to play the piano, the harp, the violin or the cello. I will try to be a good conductor.”

On the need for greater diversity at the IMF:

“Together with diversity comes respect for everybody, and I will make sure that people will continue to be respected no matter what their differences are.”

On her position as a French national:

"I don't feel specifically French or European. I feel very much a member of the whole community."

On her role as the first female director of the IMF:

“For all the young girls that are in school at the moment, I’d like to say that they should each consider that everything is possible."