Who Is Christine Lagarde? 6 Things To Know About The IMF Chief Found Guilty Of Negligence

Dec 19, 2016|Categories: Africa, International Trade, Politics|

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde may soon lose her job. A French court found her guilty of criminal negligence charges Monday, based on her preferential treatment of a businessman in 2008, when she was serving as France’s finance minister, Reuters reported.

The court did not, however, hand Lagarde any sentence, with the main judge on the case noting that “the context of the global financial crisis in which Madame Lagarde found herself should be taken into account,” according to the newswire. Read on for five facts about the possibly outgoing IMF chief.

Her predecessor was ousted for much worse.

Elected to the managing director position in 2011, Lagarde replaced fellow French national Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned from the IMF in May of that year amid allegations that he had sexually assaulted a New York hotel room service worker, who settled the case in December 2012 for an undisclosed amount.

She’s a talented synchronized swimmer.

As the Guardian put it in a 2011 profile, “In May 1968, when Christine Lagarde was a teenager, French schools were shut down during a student uprising. As her fellow pupils took to the streets to throw cobblestones at the police, Lagarde took up synchronized swimming and went on to win a bronze medal in the national championships.” Lagarde also won a spot on the French national team as a teenager.

And a knight, sort of.

After receiving the “Chevalier,” or “Knight,” level of France’s highest civilian honor, the National Order of the Legion of Honour (Ordre national de la Legion d’honneur), Lagarde was awarded the next highest decoration of “Officier,” or “Officer,” in June 2014.

She’s many firsts.

In addition to being the IMF’s first female managing director, Lagarde was the first female chair of the Chicago-based international law firm Baker & McKenzie when she was elected in 1999, as well as France’s first female finance minister in 2007, a position she held until 2011.

She’s very powerful.

In its 2016 list of the world’s most powerful women, Forbes listed Lagarde as sixth, behind German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, philanthropist Melinda Gates and General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra, in that order.

She has an equally famous gal pal.

“Christine is enormously impressive—a charismatic leader, respected worldwide,” Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen wrote in a blurb for the 2016 TIME list of the 100 most influential people. “She is also a good friend and fun to be around—witty and refreshingly direct, whether we’re sharing a stage or a private meal.”


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