The following letter was sent to the Financial Times on 7 October by Prof. Lord (Meghnad) Desai, chairman of the OMFIF advisory board, and others connected to OMFIF.
In coming months, governments will choose the leader of the International Monetary Fund for the next five years. The mandate given to Christine Lagarde, managing director since 2011, expires in July 2016. She may choose to stand again and the signatories below in no way criticise her stewardship of the IMF, to which she has provided vigorous leadership during a period of great monetary, economic and financial challenge. However a European has presided over the Fund since it was established more than 70 years ago. A structural change in the appointment process for the managing directorship is overdue.
We advocate a transparent and timely search process aimed at finding the best qualified person. If this were to culminate in an appointee from Asia, Africa or Latin America, then we would applaud such a result, which would be consistent with global economic shifts in the past 15 years.
Whoever is in charge after next July should combine a proven economics background with appropriate political and diplomatic expertise and capacity to engineer thoughtful policies to counter possible new shocks. The optimal nominee will need broad understanding of diverse approaches for promoting global financial reforms benefiting the entirety of the Fund's membership. The best candidate may not (in contrast to recent practice) be a mainstream politician who has built relationships and alliances with other international political personalities. Instead, he or she may be an independent-minded, more technically-orientated person.
Globalisation of money and finance is unlikely to go into reverse. An interconnected world will continue to need a strong IMF as an important component of efforts to promote financial stability and growth, and as a lender of last resort for countries with balance of payments problems. We need a rigorous and meritocratic selection process offering a constructive outcome for advanced and developing economies. By choosing the right leader, the international community can strengthen the Fund at a sensitive time of both opportunity and risk for the world economy.
Lord (Meghnad) Desai, emeritus professor, London School of Economics and Political Science
Franco Bassanini, former chairman, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti
Mark Burgess, former managing director, Future Fund, Australia
Hans Eichel, former finance minister, Germany
Brigitte Granville, professor, Queen Mary, University of London
Charles Goodhart, emeritus professor, London School of Economics and Political Science
Akinari Horii, special advisor and member of the board, Canon Institute for Global Studies
David Kihangire, regional financial policy advisor, East African Community
Oscar Lewisohn, chairman, Soditic Limited, London
Ruud Lubbers, former prime minister, Netherlands
Gerard Lyons, chief economic advisor to mayor of London, Greater London Authority
Kishore Mahbubani, professor and dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
David Marsh, managing director, OMFIF
Boyd McCleary, former governor, British Virgin Islands
Marcello Messori, professor, LUISS Guido Carli university
Marcello Minenna, professor, Bocconi university
Athanasios Orphanides, professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Vicky Pryce, former joint head, UK government economic service
Edoardo Reviglio, professor, International University College, Turin
Paul van Seters, professor, Tilburg university
Ben Shenglin, professor, Zhejiang university
Lord (Robert) Skidelsky, emeritus professor, Warwick university
Michael Stürmer, chief correspondent, Die Welt
Duvvuri Subbarao, former governor, Reserve Bank of India
Shumpei Takemori, professor, Keio university
Niels Thygesen, emeritus professor, Copenhagen university
Lord (Christopher) Tugendhat, former vice president, European Commission
Marsha Vande Berg, former chief executive officer, Pacific Pension Institute
Ernst Welteke, former president, Deutsche Bundesbank
Jack Wigglesworth, former chairman, London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange
Songzuo Xiang, professor, Renmin university
[The opinion expressed is that of the signatories and is not necessarily shared by the organisations they may represent]
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