IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva to serve second term

Self-described 'diehard optimist' was sole nominee to lead the International Monetary Fund

IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva had said she 'would be honoured' to serve a second term as the fund's leader. EPA
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Kristalina Georgieva will serve a second term as managing director of the International Monetary Fund, the financial agency announced on Friday.

“I am deeply grateful for the trust and support of the Fund’s Executive Board, representing our 190 members, and honoured to continue to lead the IMF as managing director for a second five-year term,” Ms Georgieva said in a statement.

The confirmation of a second term was all but certain last week when it was announced that she was the sole nominee for the post.

“Looking ahead, the board welcomes Ms Georgieva’s ongoing emphasis on issues of macroeconomic and financial stability, while also ensuring that the fund continues to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of its entire membership,” the IMF's executive board said in a statement.

Ms Georgieva's confirmation also comes on the eve of the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington. During a press conference ahead of the events, Ms Georgieva warned the world faces a decade of sluggish growth.

“The sobering reality is global activity is weak by historical standards and prospects for growth have been slowing since the global financial crisis,” she said at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

And speaking at the Centre for Global Development last week, Ms Georgieva listed challenges the IMF currently faces.

“I look at the IMF, I see for us two equally important tasks. One: make sure that we have the financial capacity to operate [and] support those that most need it,” she said.

IMF chief tells of her struggles growing up in Bulgaria – video

IMF chief tells of her struggles growing up in Bulgaria

IMF chief tells of her struggles growing up in Bulgaria

“And for the next years, this will be vulnerable middle-income countries and low-income countries.

“Two: make sure that we bring our membership together and, despite all the difficulties in co-operation, we work towards consensus on those issues on which the future of our children and grandchildren are dependent.”

Ms Georgieva's nomination comes after she received the European Union's support. The IMF's executive board makes the final decision on who its managing director will be, although the role is typically awarded to a European.

The World Bank, meanwhile, has historically been lead by an American. Indian-born US business executive Ajay Banga assumed the office of World Bank president last year.

Ms Georgieva's nomination also comes weeks before the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington, where finance ministers, central bankers and economists from around the world gather to discuss areas of global concern.

Ms Georgieva first became IMF managing director in 2019, and led the fund through the Covid-19 pandemic and the onset of the war in Ukraine.

She had previously briefly served as acting head of the World Bank.

The Bulgarian-born economist was almost forced out of the IMF in 2021 over allegations that she tampered with data during her time at the World Bank to help China. She was later cleared by the IMF and has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke to Ms Georgieva and expressed the seriousness of the issues raised by the investigation, the Treasury Department said in a 2021 readout.

Ms Yellen told Ms Georgieva that it was imperative the IMF conduct a thorough investigation to preserve the credibility of the IMF and World Bank.

Updated: April 12, 2024, 8:50 PM