Bulgaria’s Kristalina Georgieva, chief executive of the World Bank, narrowly beat the Netherlands’ Jeroen Dijsselbloem – a former head of the Eurogroup – to be the nominee of European Union finance ministers to be the next head of the International Monetary Fund, reports on August 2 said.
Dijsselbloem conceded to Georgieva, saying in a message on Twitter: “I wish her the utmost success”.
Georgieva, at 65 on the cusp of qualification for the IMF post, also received congratulations from incumbent European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker: “You have all the qualities needed to make an effective contribution to the IMF’s mission” and from her country’s Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva: “Warmest congratulations to @KGeorgieva on her way to the #IMF leadership post. Best of luck!”
Convention prescribes that of the Bretton Woods institutions, the IMF is headed by a European while the World Bank is headed by someone chosen by the US.
The nomination of Georgieva has been no easy matter, according to reports, reflecting – in the final round after other candidates dropped out – a north/south split, with northern EU countries backing Dijsselbloem and countries in the south and east of the bloc that are part of the euro zone supporting Bulgaria’s Georgieva.
Georgieva, a former European Commissioner, representing Bulgaria – rising from the humanitarian aid portfolio to a powerful vice-presidency in charge of budget and human resources – has been chief executive of the World Bank since 2017 and served in 2019, for a time, as its acting head.
She is reported to have backing from the US for a change to rules on the IMF managing director portfolio that currently bar it from being held by anyone 65 or older.
Georgieva recently was in the headlines as a putative President of the European Council, which fell away amid the machinations of EU member states. It remains to be seen whether the proposal for her to succeed Christine Lagarde, who is to move to head the European Central Bank, will be confirmed.