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France’s Lagarde becomes first female IMF chief

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by Kay Mitchell
”France’s

It has been confirmed that French Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde, is to become the first ever woman to head the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The 55-year-old has been the front-runner since the position became available when Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former managing director of the IMF, was forced to step down after being accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York.

The Washington-based Fund, which was created in 1944, oversees the global financial system and has had an active role in arranging bailout packages for euro zone economies, including Greece and Portugal.

Meanwhile, Ms Lagarde has received support for the role, in particular from America and Europe but UK Chancellor George Osborne recently said she was “outstanding candidate” for the position.

Mr Osborne was said to be “delighted” by the decision, while French President Nicolas Sarkozy described the appointment as “a victory for France”.

Ms Lagarde has previously been praised for her active role in the European debt crisis.

In a statement, the IMF said its 24-member board had decided on Ms Lagarde “by consensus”.

Ms Lagarde, a former champion swimmer, will begin her five-year term on 5 July and her main focus will be to prevent Greece’s debt crisis from spreading to other euro zone nations.

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News posted: June 29, 2011

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