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China Secures First Top Post at IMF

Wednesday, 13 Jul 2011 03:39 PM

China secured its first top management post in the International Monetary Fund Tuesday, in a move aimed at recognizing Beijing's growing clout in the global economy.

New IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde named Chinese economist Min Zhu, 58, a former deputy governor of the People's Bank of China and a special adviser to the fund, to a newly-created deputy managing director post.

She also said White House adviser David Lipton, 57, will succeed John Lipsky as first deputy managing director. Lipsky steps down at the end of his term on Aug. 31 but will stay on as a special adviser to Lagarde until the end of November.

Lipton's appointment continues a tradition of the No. 2 position in the IMF going to an American, while the head of the global lender has always been a European.

China and other emerging economies have vigorously pressed to end the long-standing practice, arguing that the selection of top officials should be based on qualifications, not nationality.

Both the United States and China supported Lagarde in her campaign to become the next IMF managing director. Since taking the helm of the IMF, Lagarde has vowed to give emerging market economies a greater say in the fund.

"As deputy managing director, (Zhu) will play an important role in working with me and the rest of my management team in meeting the challenges facing our global membership in the period ahead, and in strengthening the Fund's understanding of Asia and emerging markets more generally," Lagarde said in a statement.

Zhu is set to assume his new duties on July 26, and joins Japan's Naoyuki Shinohara and Nemat Shafik, a national of Egypt, Britain and the United States, as the fund's other two deputy managing directors.

While Lagarde and Lipton will be the main drivers of IMF policies, the deputy managing directors are involved in consultations with member countries and often chair board meetings.

Lagarde said Lipton would serve as a special advisor to the fund starting on July 26 before starting his official duties on Sept. 1.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Lipton's greatest strengths were "his creativity and drive to solve things definitively." His statement did not mention Zhu's appointment.

Lipton, senior director for International Economic Affairs at the National Economic Council and National Security Council at the White House, rose to the position as under secretary for international affairs at the U.S. Treasury during former President Clinton's administration when he played a key role in the international response to the Asian financial crisis in 1998.

He also served as an economic adviser to the governments of Russia, Poland and Slovenia. Before taking on his current job as special assistant to the president, he was a managing director at Citigroup and spent five years at global hedge fund Moore Capital Management.

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China secured its first top management post in the International Monetary Fund Tuesday, in a move aimed at recognizing Beijing's growing clout in the global economy. New IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde named Chinese economist Min Zhu, 58, a former deputy governor...
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