Kristalina Georgieva becomes the first person from an emerging economy to head the global lender. Photo: AP

JOHANNESBURG – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced the appointment of former World Bank chief executive Kristalina Georgieva as managing director, taking over from French national Christine Lagarde. 

The Bulgarian economist becomes the first person from an emerging economy to head the global lender. Georgieva, 65, faces a host of challenges as the head of the IMF, the world’s crisis lender with $1 trillion (R15 trillion) in firepower, including a global economic slowdown triggered by escalating trade tensions between the US and China. 

She held senior European Commission posts, including budget commissioner, and has deep knowledge of emerging market countries. 

Georgieva will replace Lagarde, who became the first woman to head the IMF in 2011. 

Lagarde, 63, guided the lender through the European sovereign-debt crisis. She is to head the European Central Bank. “We will see emphasis on gender inequality, environmental issues and the need for more resources for the developing world,” said Eric LeCompte, who monitors the IMF. 

Additional reporting by Reuters.

BUSINESS REPORT