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Christine Lagarde speaks at a G-20 seminar in Fukuoka, Japan. Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, speaks at a seminar on the sidelines of the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Fukuoka, Japan, June 8, 2019 (pool photo by Kiyoshi Ota via AP Images).

Lagarde Leaves the IMF Better Off, but New Troubles Loom for Her Successor

Friday, Aug. 16, 2019

Christine Lagarde took over the top spot at the International Monetary Fund eight years ago in the midst of two crises. The first was an internal crisis of leadership: Her predecessor, Dominique Strauss-Khan, had just been forced to step down amid sexual assault allegations, only four years into his tenure. The second crisis was external: Europe’s economy was reeling after an initial bailout of Greece hadn’t resolved its debt crisis and political tensions between Athens and Brussels threatened to upend any future deal.

Now, Lagarde is leaving the fund to become the likely next chair of the European Central Bank. Thanks to Lagarde’s leadership, her successor will inherit a stronger institution and far less tumultuous conditions. Yet her tenure in Washington was not without controversy. She also leaves her replacement with some major challenges, including preparing for the next financial crisis and keeping the peace between the IMF’s two most important member states. ...

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