Bulgarian economist Kristalina Georgieva, former chief executive officer of the World Bank, took office on Tuesday as the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a five-year term.
Georgieva, selected by the European Union (EU) to lead the IMF, has been the only nominee for the position. Succeeding France’s Christine Lagarde, Georgieva is the first person from an emerging market economy to lead the IMF since its inception in 1944.
Georgieva, 66, has been CEO of the World Bank since January 2017. From February to April, she was the interim president for the global institution, following former chief Jim Yong Kim’s abrupt resignation at the beginning of this year. At the World Bank, she was believed to have pushed for shareholders’ consensus on a 13-billion-U.S. dollar capital increase and reform package last year, which cut lending to wealthier developing countries and shifted more resources to poorer countries.
Previously, Georgieva held numerous posts at the European Commission (EC) starting 2010, after her country joined the EU in 2007. She served as commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response, and later became vice president for budget and human resources, when she oversaw the EU’s 161 billion euros (175 billion dollars) budget, and was committed to addressing the euro zone debt crisis and the 2015 refugee crisis.
Before joining the EC, Georgieva had a 17-year tenure at the World Bank, starting in 1993 as an environmental economist, working her way up through the ranks, and becoming the vice president and corporate secretary in 2008. She held a number of other senior positions at the bank, including director for sustainable development, director for the Russian Federation, director for environment, and director for environment and social development for the East Asia and Pacific region.
Georgieva has built a reputation as a champion in women empowerment, humanitarian efforts, and the global fight against climate change. She serves on many international panels including as co-chair of the Global Commission on Adaptation, which seeks to accelerate adaptation action and increase political support for building climate resilience. She is also the co-chair of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing. —Xinhua