Lagarde takes over as IMF chief

09:57, July 06, 2011      

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Christine Lagarde, newly appointed Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), arrives for her first day work at the headquarters of IMF in Washington, the United States, July 5, 2011. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)

Christine Lagarde, the newly-appointed Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on Tuesday started a five-year term as the Washington-based global lender's first female chief.

"You are expected to observe the highest standards of ethical conduct, consistent with the values of integrity, impartiality and discretion," the IMF's executive board described her duty in a letter of appointment.

On May 28, the 24-member board declared to pick Lagarde, 55, as the IMF's 11th managing director for a five-year term starting July 5, making her the first woman to lead the global institution.

Lagarde was until recently France's finance minister, a post she held since June 2007. Previously, she served as trade minister for two years. She started her political career as an anti-trust and labor lawyer.

The IMF started the process to select its new chief in late May to succeed former head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned on May 18 to face sexual assault charges in New York.

The fund stressed ethical conduct of its staff after Strauss-Kahn's resignation.

"You shall strive to avoid even the appearance of impropriety in your conduct" and "shall avoid any conflict of interest or the appearance of such a conflict," the board told Lagarde.

The former French finance minister said in a statement on June 28 that "the IMF has served its 187 member countries well during the global economic and financial crisis, transforming itself in many positive ways. I will make it my overriding goal that our institution continues to serve its entire membership with the same focus and the same spirit."

She also noted that the IMF must be "relevant, responsive, effective and legitimate," in a bid to achieve stronger and sustainable growth and macroeconomic stability.
Many believe that the most urgent task for Lagarde, the first female chief of the IMF, is to tackle the ongoing European debt crisis.

Source: Xinhua

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