IFI governance


Camdessus quits IMF

15 December 1999

Michel Camdessus, Managing Director of the IMF for nearly 13 years has announced his resignation. He will step down in February 2000 in the middle of his third term. The race is now on to appoint his successor. By tradition this post is held by a European and appointed by the European members, although the US is now claiming a bigger role in the selection process and may not support a European candidate. The US administration wants someone with “strong credibility in the markets”.

NGOs are calling for an equitable and transparent process for appointing the future MD. In particular they want developing countries, with whom the IMF does most of its work, to have a say in the selection process. Swiss NGO Erklärung von Berne commented that

“it is unacceptable that Western European and US goverments can, in a colonial manner, appoint the new heads of the Bank and IMF in discussions amongst themselves … The new head should have experience with development policies and should understand the social and environmental impacts of globalisation.”

Even Jeffrey Sachs has likened the current appointment process to a “backroom poker game.”

Currently in the running for the post are Caio Koch-Weser, German Finance Minister and formerly a World Bank Managing Director; Andrew Crockett (UK), Head of the Bank of International Settlements in Switzerland; Jean-Claude Trichet, Head of the Bank of France; Mervyn King, deputy governor of the Bank of England; and Horst Köhler, head of the European Bank for Reconstruction