Christine Lagarde

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Christine Lagarde
Lagarde, Christine (official portrait 2011).jpg
Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund
Incumbent
Assumed office
5 July 2011
Deputy John Lipsky
David Lipton
Preceded by Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Minister of Finance
In office
19 June 2007 – 29 June 2011
Prime Minister François Fillon
Preceded by Jean-Louis Borloo
Succeeded by François Baroin
Minister of Agriculture
In office
18 May 2007 – 18 June 2007
Prime Minister François Fillon
Preceded by Dominique Bussereau
Succeeded by Michel Barnier
Minister of Commerce and Industry
In office
2 June 2005 – 15 May 2007
Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin
Preceded by Christian Jacob
Succeeded by Position abolished
Personal details
Born Christine Madeleine Odette Lallouette
(1956-01-01) 1 January 1956 (age 58)
Paris, France
Political party Union for a Popular Movement
Spouse(s) Wilfred Lagarde (Divorced)
Eachran Gilmour (Divorced)
Domestic partner Xavier Giocanti
Alma mater Paris West University Nanterre La Défense
Institute of Political Studies, Aix
Religion Roman Catholicism

Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde (French: [kʁistin madlɛn ɔdɛt laɡaʁd]; née Lallouette, IPA: [laluɛt]; born 1 January 1956)[1] is a French lawyer and Union for a Popular Movement politician who has been the Managing Director (MD) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) since 5 July 2011. Previously, she held various ministerial posts in the French government: she was Minister of Economic Affairs, Finance and Employment and before that Minister of Agriculture and Fishing and Minister of Trade in the government of Dominique de Villepin. Lagarde was the first woman to become finance minister of a G8 economy, and is the first woman to head the IMF.

A noted antitrust and labor lawyer, Lagarde became the first female chairman of the international law firm Baker & McKenzie. On 16 November 2009, the Financial Times ranked her the best Minister of Finance in the Eurozone.[2] On 28 June 2011, she was named as the next MD of the IMF for a five-year term, starting on 5 July 2011,[3][4][5] replacing Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Her appointment is the 11th consecutive appointment of a European to head the IMF.[6] In 2014, Lagarde was ranked the 5th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Lagarde was born in Paris, France, into a family of academics. Her father, Robert Lallouette, was a Professor of English; her mother, Nicole, was a Latin teacher. Lagarde and her three brothers, all younger, spent their childhood in Le Havre where she attended the Lycée François 1er and Lycée Claude Monet.[8][9][10] As a teenager, Lagarde was a member of the French national synchronised swimming team.[11] After her baccalauréat in 1973, she went on an American Field Service scholarship to the Holton-Arms School for girls in Bethesda, Maryland. During her year in America, Lagarde worked as an intern at the United States Capitol, as Representative William Cohen's congressional assistant, helping him correspond with his French-speaking constituents during the Watergate hearings.[12][13] She graduated from Paris West University Nanterre La Défense, where she obtained Master's degrees in English, labor law, and social law.[14][15] She also holds a master's degree from the Institut d'études politiques d'Aix-en-Provence.[11][16] Since 2010, she has presided over Sciences Po Aix's board of directors.[17] She also prepared for École nationale d'administration's entrance exam but ultimately failed to gain admission to the elite public administration school.[18]

Lagarde is divorced and has two sons, Pierre-Henri Lagarde (born 1986) and Thomas Lagarde (born 1988).[19] Since 2006, her partner has been the entrepreneur Xavier Giocanti from Marseille.

A vegetarian, who very rarely drinks alcohol,[8][20][21][22] Lagarde's hobbies include regular trips to the gym, cycling, and swimming.[10]

Professional career[edit]

Lagarde joined Baker & McKenzie, a large Chicago-based international law firm, in 1981. She handled major antitrust and labor cases, was made partner after six years and was named head of the firm in Western Europe. She joined the executive committee in 1995 and was elected the company's first ever female Chairman in October 1999.[23][24][25] In 2004, Lagarde became president of the global strategic committee.[26]

Ministerial career[edit]

As France's Trade Minister between 2005 and May 2007, Lagarde prioritized opening new markets for the country's products, focusing on the technology sector. On 18 May 2007, she was moved to the Ministry of Agriculture as part of the government of François Fillon.[27] The following month she joined François Fillon's cabinet in the Ministry of Economic Affairs,[28] Finance and Employment to become the first woman ever in charge of economic policy in France.

International Monetary Fund[edit]

Appointment[edit]

On 25 May 2011, Lagarde announced her candidacy to be head of the IMF to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn upon his resignation.[29] Her candidacy received the support of the British, Indian, United States, Brazilian, Russian, Chinese and German governments.[30][31][32][33][34] The Governor of the Bank of Mexico (and former Mexican Secretary of Finance) Agustín Carstens was also nominated for the post. His candidacy was supported by many Latin American governments, as well as Spain, Canada and Australia.[30]

On 28 June 2011, the IMF board elected Lagarde as its next managing director and chairman for a five-year term, starting on 5 July 2011.[3][4][5] The IMF's executive board praised both candidates as well-qualified, but decided on Lagarde by consensus. Lagarde became the first woman to be elected as the head of the IMF.[3] Carstens would have been the first non-European. Her appointment came amid the intensification of the European sovereign debt crisis especially in Greece, with fears looming of loan defaults. The United States in particular supported her speedy appointment in light of the fragility of Europe's economic situation.[35]

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that Lagarde's "exceptional talent and broad experience will provide invaluable leadership for this indispensable institution at a critical time for the global economy."[5] Nicolas Sarkozy referred to Lagarde's appointment as "a victory for France." Oxfam, a charity working in developing nations, called the appointment process "farcical" and argued that what it saw as a lack of transparency hurt the IMF's credibility.[4]

Viewpoints[edit]

Alistair Darling (left) with Lagarde and Timothy Geithner (right) in 2009

In July 2010, Lagarde told the PBS NewsHour that the IMF's lending program for distressed European countries was "a very massive plan, totally unexpected, totally counter-treaty, because it wasn't scheduled in the treaty that we should do a bailout program, as we did." She also said, "we had essentially a trillion dollars on the table to confront any market attack that would target any country, whether it's Greece, Spain, Portugal, or anybody within the eurozone." With respect to the French economy, she stated that besides short-term stimulus efforts: "we must, very decisively, cut our deficit and reduce our debt."[36]

In public remarks made right after her appointment, Lagarde stated that both the IMF and EU required Greek austerity measures as a prerequisite for further aid. She said, "If I have one message tonight about Greece, it is to call on the Greek political opposition to support the party that is currently in power in a spirit of national unity."[5] She said of her predecessor that: "The IMF has taken up the challenges of the crisis thanks to the actions of [Managing Director] Dominique Strauss-Kahn and to his team as well."[33] On 25 December 2011, Lagarde argued that the world economy was at risk and urged Europeans to unify in terms of the debt crisis facing the continent.[37]

Questioned about her economic philosophy, Lagarde has described herself as "with Adam Smith—that is, liberal."[22]

"Payback" controversy[edit]

In an interview with The Guardian in May 2012, Lagarde was asked about crisis-stricken Greece and replied:

"Do you know what? As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time. All these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax."

Even more than she thinks about all those now struggling to survive without jobs or public services? "I think of them equally. And I think they should also help themselves collectively."

How? "By all paying their tax. Yeah."

It sounds as if she's essentially saying to the Greeks and others in Europe, you've had a nice time and now it's payback time. "That's right." She nods calmly. "Yeah."[38][39]

Her comments provoked controversy: Evangelos Venizelos said she had "insulted the Greek people", while Alexis Tsipras declared: "We don't need her compassion."[40][41] In an effort to quell the negative response, the next day Lagarde updated her Facebook page with: "As I have said many times before, I am very sympathetic to the Greek people and the challenges they are facing."[42] Within 24 hours, over 10,000 comments had been left in response, many of them obscene.[40]

In July 2012, as the Greek economy continued to decline, and the country's leaders asked for an easing of the terms of external assistance, Lagarde said she was "not in the negotiation or renegotiation mood at all."[43][44] A year later, though, with her own organization conceding that its "rescue" package for Greece had fallen short of what was required, Lagarde—having previously said that Greece's debt burden was "sustainable"—decided that Greece would not recover unless its debt was written off in a meaningful way.[45][46]

The Lagarde list[edit]

Main article: Lagarde list

In 2010 Lagarde, then Finance Minister of France, sent a list of 1,991 names of Greek customers with bank accounts at HSBC's Geneva branch to the Greek government.[47]

On 28 October 2012, Greek reporter and editor Kostas Vaxevanis claimed to be in possession of the list and published a document with more than 2,000 names in his magazine Hot Doc.[48][49] He was immediately arrested on charges of breaching privacy laws with a possible sentence of up to two years in prison.[50] After a public outcry, Vaxevanis was found not guilty three days later.[51] According to the New York Times, as of late-October 2013, Vaxevanis faces a retrial, while the Greek authorities have yet to charge anyone on the list.[52]

Investigation into alleged misuse of power[edit]

On 3 August 2011, a French court ordered an investigation into Lagarde's role in a €403 million arbitration deal in favour of businessman Bernard Tapie.[53] On 24 May 2013, after two days of questioning at the Court of Justice of the Republic, Lagarde was assigned the status of "assisted witness", meaning that she was not herself under investigation in the affair.[54] According to a press report from June 2013, Lagarde has been described by Stephane Richard, the CEO of France Telecom (a former aide to Lagarde when she was Finance Minister), who has himself been put under formal investigation in the case, as having been fully briefed before approving the arbitration process which benefitted Bernard Tapie.[55][56] Subsequently in August 2014 the Court of Justice of the Republic announced that it had formally started a negligence investigation into Lagarde's role in the arbitration of the Tapie case.[57]

Media[edit]

Lagarde was interviewed in the documentary film Inside Job (2010), which later won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.[58][59]

The fashion magazine Vogue profiled Lagarde in September 2011.[22]

Lagarde was portrayed by actress Laila Robins in the 2011 HBO television drama Too Big to Fail, which was based on the popular book of the same name by New York Times journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin.[60]

Lagarde presented the 2014 Richard Dimbleby Lecture, titled "A New Multilateralism for the 21st Century".[61][62]

In 2014, Lagarde was named the 5th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes Magazine.[7]

Honours[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Le Nouvel Economiste". Nouveleconomiste.fr. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  2. ^ From Ralph Atkins, Andrew Whiffin and FT reporters. (16 October 2009). "FT ranking of EU finance ministers". Financial Times. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "IMF Executive Board Selects Christine Lagarde as Managing Director". Press Release. IMF. 28 June 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c "Lagarde wins IMF top job, presses Greece on crisis". Reuters. 28 June 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Christine Lagarde named IMF chief". BBC News. 28 June 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "IMF Managing Directors". IMF. 28 June 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "Christine Lagarde - La biographie de Christine Lagarde avec" (in French). Gala.fr. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  9. ^ "La mujer que oculta acero tras la sonrisa" (in Spanish). El País. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Guinness, Molly (17 July 2011). "Is this the world's sexiest woman (and the most powerful)?". London: Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Christine Lagarde: the key facts". Daily Telegraph (London). 25 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  12. ^ "Interview : Christine Lagarde, la face cachée d'une femme de pouvoir". Latribune.fr. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  13. ^ Shapira, Ian, "Christine Lagarde stirs wistful memories for friends in Holton Arms Class of ’74", Washington Post, 29 July 2011.
  14. ^ Janet H. Clark (2013-08-13). "Christine Lagarde (French lawyer and politician) - Encyclopedia Britannica". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  15. ^ "Christine Lagarde : biographie - Le Nouvel Observateur". Tempsreel.nouvelobs.com. 2007-05-18. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  16. ^ "Christine Lagarde, Eleventh Managing Director of IMF - Biographical Information". Imf.org. 2013-11-14. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  17. ^ Marc Saillard. "Christine Lagarde élue à la tête du CA de Sciences po Aix - Educpros". Educpros.fr. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  18. ^ [1][dead link]
  19. ^ David Wilkes (23 May 2012). "The seductive IMF boss and a smitten BBC business guru: Lagarde's Gallic charms leave Peston flustered | Mail Online". London: Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  20. ^ "Contact". Exporter.gouv.fr. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  21. ^ "Xavier Giocanti, le mari de... Christine Lagarde" (in French). Paris Match. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  22. ^ a b c Johnson, Diane (September 2011). "Christine Lagarde: Changing of the Guard". Vogue. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  23. ^ "Firm Facts | Firm History | Baker & McKenzie". Bakermckenzie.com. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  24. ^ "Christine Lagarde, the eleventh European to head the IMF". Thomaswhite.com. 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  25. ^ "Christine Lagarde: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". Investing.businessweek.com. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  26. ^ "Christine Lagarde biography". Ministry of the Economy (France). Retrieved 2 March 2009. 
  27. ^ "Décret du 18 mai 2007 relatif à la composition du Gouvernement" (in French). Legifrance.gouv.fr. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  28. ^ "Décret du 19 juin 2007 relatif à la composition du Gouvernement" (in French). Legifrance.gouv.fr. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  29. ^ [2][dead link]
  30. ^ a b "IMF: US backs Christine Lagarde for top job". BBC News (London). 28 June 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  31. ^ "Germany, Britain back Lagarde to lead IMF". Washington Post. 22 May 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  32. ^ (French) "Soutiens européens à une candidature de Lagarde au FMI". Le Monde. 19 May 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  33. ^ a b "Christine Lagarde announces IMF candidacy". BBC News. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  34. ^ "Lagarde suited to head IMF; India voted for her: Pranab". Moneycontrol India. 26 May 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  35. ^ "France's Christine Lagarde wins IMF top job – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News". Haaretz. Israel. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  36. ^ "As IMF's New Chief, Will Lagarde 'Keep Smiling'?". PBS NewsHour. 29 June 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  37. ^ "IMF's Lagarde warns global economy threatened - Business - Stocks & economy | NBC News". MSNBC. 2011-12-25. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  38. ^ Aitkenhead, Decca (25 May 2012). "Christine Lagarde: can the head of the IMF save the euro?". London: Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  39. ^ Elliott, Larry; Aitkenhead, Decca (25 May 2012). "It's payback time: don't expect sympathy – Lagarde to Greeks". London: Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  40. ^ a b Osborne, Alistair (27 May 2012). "Irate Greeks vilify IMF chief on Facebook after she brands them tax dodgers". The Sunday Telegraph (London). Retrieved 28 May 2012. 
  41. ^ "Democracy in action". The Economist (2 June 2012). Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  42. ^ "Update of 26 May 2012, 09:43". Lagarde's Facebook page. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  43. ^ "Greece seeks more time to meet bailout terms". Al Arabiya News. AFP. 7 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  44. ^ Paris, Coastas; Granitsas, Alkman (4 July 2012). "Greece's Creditors to Take Tough Line". WSJ.com. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  45. ^ Matina Stevis and Ian Talley (5 June 2013). "IMF Concedes It Made Mistakes on Greece". wsj.com. Retrieved 10 June 2013. "In an internal document marked "strictly confidential," the IMF said it badly underestimated the damage that its prescriptions of austerity would do to Greece's economy, which has been mired in recession for the last six years. … Over the last three years, a number of senior IMF figures, including Managing Director Christine Lagarde, have repeatedly said that Greece's debt level was 'sustainable'—likely to be repaid in full and on time." 
  46. ^ Helena Smith (3 June 2013). "Greece's creditors close to writing off some of its debt". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 3 June 2013. "In an implicit recognition that the eurozone's weakest member state will never recover unless some of its debt is forgiven, the International Monetary Fund's managing director, Christine Lagarde, said that Athens' debt pile, projected to reach a staggering 185% of GDP this year, would remain high 'well into the next decade'." 
  47. ^ "The Controversial 'Lagarde List' Has Leaked, And It's Bad News For The Greek Prime Minister". Businessinsider.com. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  48. ^ "Greece arrests journalist over 'Lagarde List' banks leak". BBC. 28 October 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  49. ^ Julian Borger (28 October 2012). "Greek magazine editor in court for naming alleged tax evaders". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  50. ^ McElroy, Damien (30 October 2012). "Greek officials accused of persecution as 'Lagarde List' journalist appears in court". London: The Telegraph. 
  51. ^ "Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis acquitted in trial for naming alleged tax cheats (UPDATE)". Global Post. 1 November 2012. 
  52. ^ Daley, Suzanne. "Greece's Aggressive Pursuit of Tax Offenders Appears to Collect More Anger Than Money." New York Times, 28 October 2013.
  53. ^ Chrisafis, Angelique (4 August 2011). "Christine Lagarde faces inquiry over €285m payout for Sarkozy ally | World news". London: Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  54. ^ "IMF chief Christine Lagarde key witness in Tapie case". Bbc.co.uk. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  55. ^ Reuters (2013-06-25). "Christine Lagarde accused over Bernard Tapie ‘fraud’ - Europe - World". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  56. ^ John Lichfield (2013-05-23). "IMF managing director Christine Lagarde in court over money to disgraced tycoon Bernard Tapie in 2008 - Europe - World". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 
  57. ^ "IMF's Christine Lagarde 'under investigation'". bbc.co.uk. 27 August 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  58. ^ "Power with grace". Ft.com. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  59. ^ "Winners and Nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards". Oscars.org. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  60. ^ Nikki Schwab; Katy Adams (29 June 2011). "New IMF chief portrayed in HBO's 'Too Big To Fail'". Washington Examiner. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  61. ^ Telegraph. Nationalism could destroy global economy, warns Christine Lagarde. 4 February 2014.
  62. ^ Economic Times. Inequality increasing globally including in India: Christine Lagarde. 4 February 2014.
  63. ^ "KU Leuven awards honorary doctorate to Christine Lagarde, IMF chief – KU Leuven". Kuleuven.be. Retrieved 2014-02-21. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Christian Jacob
Minister of Commerce and Industry
2005–2007
Position abolished
Preceded by
Dominique Bussereau
Minister of Agriculture
2007
Succeeded by
Michel Barnier
Preceded by
Jean-Louis Borloo
Minister of Finance
2007–2011
Succeeded by
François Baroin
Business positions
Preceded by
Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund
2011–present
Incumbent