May 20th, 2011
01:40 PM GMT
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Urgently required: A senior level politician to chair international organization with a myriad of shareholders from around the globe.

Board members include the U.S., Germany, France, China and Saudi Arabia. Candidate must feel at ease with leaders ranging from Barack Obama to Wen Jiabao and have a wide-range of contacts from Wall Street to Shanghai and all places in between.

The financial crisis of 2008 demands this person would have an intricate knowledge of financial instruments, Basel III banking rules and monetary policy. The ideal candidate is a European that commands the respect of the Chancellor of Germany, embraces the G-20 architecture and has the backing of the President or Prime Minister of your home country. Female candidates are encouraged to apply.

DSK’s legacy

After a whirlwind week of coverage in Brussels which started with the European finance ministers (Ecofin) meeting and finished with the annual European Business Summit, I had dinner with an executive head hunter who has filled posts for Fortune 100 companies and institutions such as the European Investment Bank. Over superb Italian cuisine, we discussed the essential traits of the ideal candidate to fill the seat vacated by former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn. To DSK’s credit, he has elevated the role of Managing Director and the institution. This, in turn, may have made the job of finding the right choice a bit easier.

At the two-day Ecofin gathering, we chased down European finance ministers who did not want to be seen courting the media while at the same time delivering a message that a European is still the right choice for the job.

Their arguments: Collectively “we” are the biggest shareholder and since the EU is in the midst of a financial crisis in Greece, Portugal and Ireland, “we” would feel more comfortable with one of our own. Even the usually reserved President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy suggested that tradition can be broken, just not yet on stage at the European Business Summit.

He was following a script written by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who carries the most sway as leader of Europe’s largest economy and which has embraced China for its export lead growth.

The Chancellor came out early to mark her territory and within 24 hours three highly competent names were circulating in the halls of the Ecofin meeting, the most well known being the former President of the German central bank Axel Weber.

That was her opening gambit, but it is worth noting the leading candidate, Christine Lagarde, has superb relations with Mrs. Merkel. It would only enhance the first female Chancellor of Germany to have backed the first female Managing Director of the IMF in Ms. Lagarde. She could be the European candidate of choice and break the practice of a handful of countries fighting for their “flag”.

This executive search could also get done quickly due to the political calendar and the job opening in the IMF’s number two position at the end of August, being vacated by John Lipsky. Over the span of the next week, U.S. President Obama will meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron, the OECD will celebrate its 50th anniversary and G-8 leaders will meet in Deauville, France. Face-to-Face diplomacy certainly speeds up the pace of decision making.

Those who cannot tick all the boxes need not apply

Don’t get me wrong, there will be plenty of horse trading taking place, but none of the major shareholders will attempt to put up a candidate that cannot fill the shoes of the highly intelligent, but perhaps personally careless predecessor.

Finally, while a lot has been said about an emerging market candidate being considered for the top job – and that makes more sense today than ever before – it is plausible to foresee a deal which has the Managing Director’s seat filled by a European with global credentials and superb relations within the G-20.

The First Deputy MD could be the top emerging market candidate that could then lay the ground work for a truly open and merit based process the next time around.

During the global financial crisis the world morphed from a G-8 driven world to the G-20 in the span of months, but the IMF’s largest shareholders are not quite ready to give up all their power just yet.

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. kudjabo Odette

    DSK resigned but will still get 223.000 Euros per year.....this is not Europe when you resign from your job you don't get a dime !! I have more trust in the U.S justice than I have in the European....but think it was a mistake to release him on bail.....who would be able to stop him to escape the U.S.A. if a French helicopter would pick him up ? It happend before in Europe with all I want to say....please be careful and watch out, this is not just a guy...he is a womaniser, has power, has money, is smart and has a lot of connections !!!

    May 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  2. Adu Poku B. Frank

    Much interested,how best can Succed...grt politician.

    May 20, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  3. Tafadzwa L. Charamba

    I think the job should be given to an African this time around. Trevor Manuel the former finance minister is an intelligent and very experienced young man.

    May 20, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  4. Antoinette Meijrink

    My Candidacy????? How sweet... For the experience I have with the System in all it"s ins and outs on how to steal from the poor and pretend they play by the rules... I charge the Whole Planet for the abuse of Media and People to make up for their Greed and their insufferable straight faces looking into a Camera while they know the Director cut out their footage as soon as he heared.

    May 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm |


    Lorsque la vie est mise à mort, en direct,
    En ces moments où se jouent et se rejouent mascarade et pantomime,
    Le mauvais théâtre de ce monde vous met à mort,
    De toutes ses forces maléfiques,
    Et s’en gargarise et s’en réjouit,

    Au nom de ce qu’il n’est pas,
    Au nom de ce dont il ne témoigne pas,
    D’aucune façon et en aucun cas,

    Lorsque la caricature a gagné sur la pensée,
    La démesure au nom de la mesure,
    La lapidation, la torture, le harcèlement,
    La Connerie en résumé et en somme,

    Lorsque vous êtes seuls et démunis à ce point,
    Livrés à la vindicte populaire et politique
    La plus malsaine,
    La plus aveugle,
    Mais aussi la plus consciente et la plus perverse,

    Lorsque vous avez pour vous,
    Votre conscience,
    Puisque certains en ont encore une,
    Et que vous en faites partie,

    Quoi qu’il arrive, quoi que l’histoire écrive,
    Quoi que « la vie » vous fasse subir,
    Le monde vous doit un Merci
    Le monde ne vous mérite pas
    Et c’est très réciproque,
    Vous n’avez pas mérité ce monde,

    Ce que je ne sais nommer, qui existe pourtant et a donné sa raison à la vie,
    Bien au-delà de ce qui n’a pas de nom non plus
    Mais qui s’exprime ici bas,
    Celui-là est avec vous.

    Lyon, France, le 20 mai 2011

    May 20, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
  6. Dillon

    Wit regard to da complexity of current global financial upheavals I'd suggest a Man frm the 3rd world shud fill the top job of Mr Khan. I say coz Africa z the mst vanourable.

    May 20, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
  7. Nigeria

    I won't say he did it or not but my concern is the number of security holding only one man on hank off. How do you guys think that the IMF boss will run away on hank off? This is a way to ruin his political career in this world. Let us be careful the way we treat people in a case like this. The girl could be influenced or not. For now there is no evidence to prove him guilty. If the IMF boss had called police that the girl came inside his room and took away his phone, police would also arrest her and there will be no evidence that she took the phone or not because there was no camera in the hotel room

    May 20, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  8. Lala

    @kudjabo Odette, you're talking bull*cks.

    May 20, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  9. Adrian

    DSK may be guilty later but he's still innocent & i say this kind of justice is f****d. So what happens if he's proven innocent after he's lost his job. The whole thing abt attempted rape can be jus a crude plan anyway

    May 21, 2011 at 4:52 am |
  10. south african

    its a bit arrogant to expect the status quo to continue. Europe and the Usa economies are in a mess in spite of the traditions of selfish capital interests. Time for an emerging market candidate like Trevor Manuel to lead the Imf on behalf of all 187 member countries.

    May 21, 2011 at 5:58 am |
  11. Svein Rune Johannessen

    Hello. I have followed a little extra in the U.S. enforcement of the suspects.
    Somehow I do not understand at all is. How can you impose on a person to have to pay 30 million Norwegian kroner in bail before one at all has been convicted of anything .. How can a country like the U.S. let this be acceptable?
    We are viewing this from a democratic country can never understand what money has fair treatment do .. This of bail is to be something that should be abolished immediately recalculates, to rather spend time seeing what is right to wrong in a criminal case. Whether you are rich or poor, should not money have no bearing on how you treat people on the suspects.
    I think the U.S. is a great country with lots of nice humans and great cities. But the legal system is completely incomprehensible to understand something of ..

    Regards Svein Rune Johannessen

    May 21, 2011 at 7:33 am |
  12. Antje

    There flock the racist bigots again. Why does CNN such a sloppy job at moderating these forums? Trust the american justice? Remember OJ Simpson or the Rosenbergs. If you don't, keep your opinion to yourself.
    Anybody who traveled the world a bit knows that in certain countries nobody speaks the truth, ever. From a maid through the mayor. And Ghana is certainly one of these.

    May 21, 2011 at 9:10 am |
  13. Kenneth udemgba

    Imf head should be given an africa europe has fail

    May 21, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  14. Rupert South Africa

    good on William Taylor, remember there a plenty of ways to skin a cat! The prosercuter is a little worm, somebody Harvard University, no chance!! there are always 2 side to a story, what was the hotel maid in the bed room, makes you think?

    May 21, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  15. kwentua kennedy

    I believe the IMF knows amongst its hierarchy of leadership the most capable person for the top job. Europe may not support an American headship following the way Strauss-Kahn was handled. It is too high handed and demeaning if an american was so treated it would be an issue. That said every criminal should be given a fair trial and should he be found guilty so be it. But i smell something fishy about the american treatment. Dirty Politiking.

    May 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  16. kwentua kennedy

    President Obama"s new middle east engagement strategy is more of sitting on the fence and following the wind blow trend rather than take pro active lead. The new arab democratic ideals and the less attraction to extremism should be cashed in on by america at this point. Obama is should take a firm stand on the Israeli- Palestinian stalemate and encourage a moderate Palestinian stance that will attract the Israeli to the table. Egypt has tried in stabilizing that region and America should take bold steps. Israeli should also sacrifice for peace.

    May 21, 2011 at 6:35 pm |

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