A former Chicago attorney is among the leading candidates to replace disgraced International Monetary Fund Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Christine Lagarde, 55, the French finance minister, has a straight-talk reputation that that has made her one of Europe's most influential ambassadors in international finance.
While in Chicago, Legarde headed Baker & McKenzie law firm. Although she is originally French, Legarde spent 25 years living in the United States. She even took her sharp wit to John Stewart's "The Daily Show."
She impressed American audiences during a 2009 appearance on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, recounting how she pushed for the firing of incompetent managers at a French-Belgian bank that required a taxpayer bailout. (“I, for one, said, ‘Management is out. They did a crappy job. They have to go.’ ”) She then presented Mr. Stewart with a beret."
Lagarde has the respect of her foreign leaders including the USA and Germany, but it may be due to more than just her skill set. She told ABC's Christiane Amanpour that women "inject less libido, less testosterone into" their work environment than men. If Legarde is given the position, she will be the first woman to run the IMF.
Her opening comes on the heels of a difficult time for the IMF.
Strauss-Kahn, who's currently in jail in New York City's Riker's Island penetentiry, resigned Thursday to deal with the charges of attempted rape filed by a hotel maid in New York last Saturday. The IMF executive board is scheduled to meet quickly, possibly Thursday, to start the application process for his replacement.
According to the NY Times:
“What’s happened with Strauss-Kahn underscores how great it would be to have a woman in the role,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a former I.M.F. chief economist who is now a professor at Harvard University.
“She is enormously impressive, politically astute and a strong personality,” he said. “At finance meetings all over the world, she is treated practically like a rock star.”
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