Speculating on the IMF Succession

I’m surprised at the relatively subdued reaction to the news that IMF managing

director Rodrigo Rato is stepping down in October. Given that his resignation

was such a surprise, one might expect a flurry of speculation as to the reasons

why he’s going and the identity of his successor. But so far, there’s been very


Naturally, global governance types are hoping that a non-European will get

a look in. Dani Rodrik says his

candidate would be Arminio Fraga, and I’m sure that the

Egyptians are sounding out Mohamed El-Erian to see if he might

be interested in reprising his quixotic

2004 run for the job.

But with Robert Zoellick having received zero push-back in

his quest to lead the World Bank, the chances of any non-European having any

realistic hope of getting the job remain, effectively, zero. The favorite at

the moment would seem to be Mervyn King, of the Bank of England

– a strong central banker and someone I can’t see generating any real


Who else is there? Reuters reports

that Mario Draghi, of the Bank of Italy, has ruled himself

out. Jean Lemierre of the EBRD and Christian Noyer

of the Bank of France have both been mentioned, but I don’t see either of them

getting the job, if only because a Frenchman has run the IMF for 13 of the past

20 years. And that would seem to leave Lorenzo Bini-Smaghi of

the ECB, who lacks management experience.

There might be others: it would certainly be nice to be able to choose from

a slightly deeper pool than a few European central bank governors. I wonder

if Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann might be interested?

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