The Managing Director Selection Process

September 15, 2016

The IMF’s Managing Director is both Chairperson of the Executive Board and Head of IMF staff. He or she is appointed by the Executive Board for a renewable term of five years. The Executive Board may select a Managing Director by a majority of votes cast. In the past, the Board has made such appointments by consensus.

Duties of the Managing Director

According to the IMF's Articles of Agreement, the Managing Director “shall be chief of the operating staff of the Fund and shall conduct, under the direction of the Executive Board, the ordinary business of the Fund. Subject to the general control of the Executive Board, he shall be responsible for the organization, appointment, and dismissal of the staff of the Fund.” 

The Managing Director is assisted by a First Deputy Managing Director and three Deputy Managing Directors. He or she appoints the Deputy Managing Directors.

Selection process

The IMF's 24-member Executive Board is responsible for selecting the Managing Director. Past practice has been that Executive Directors may submit a nomination for the position. Since the 2011 selection roundIMF Governors could also submit nominations.

In the 2011 selection, the Executive Board adopted a strengthened process that supported the selection of the next Managing Director through an open, merit-based, and transparent manner. The Executive Board adopted the same procedure to govern the 2016 selection.

The procedure comprises the following aspects:

Candidate Profile

The successful candidate for the position of Managing Director will have a distinguished record in economic policymaking at senior levels. 
(S)he will have an outstanding professional background, will have demonstrated the managerial and diplomatic skills needed to lead a global institution, and will be a national of any of the IMF’s member countries. 
As chief of the IMF's staff and as Chairman of the Executive Board, (s)he will be capable of providing strategic vision for the work of a high quality, diverse, and dedicated staff; and will be firmly committed to advancing the goals of the IMF by building consensus on key policy and institutional issues, including through close collaboration with the Executive Board, under whose direction (s)he will fulfill his or her responsibilities.
(S)he will have a proven understanding of the IMF and the policy challenges facing the Fund’s diverse global membership. (S)he will have a firm commitment to, and an appreciation of, multilateral cooperation and will have a demonstrated capacity to be objective and impartial. (S)he will also be an effective communicator

Drawing up a shortlist

At the end of the nomination period, the IMF’s Secretary announces to the Executive Board the names of those nominees who have confirmed their desire to be candidates. From these, the Executive Board draws up a shortlist of three candidates, taking into account the above candidate profile without geographical preferences. The shortlist is published by the IMF.

Selecting the successful candidate

The Executive Board meets with the shortlisted candidates at the IMF’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. 

Thereafter, the Executive Board meets to discuss the strengths of the candidates and to make a selection. Although the Executive Board may select a Managing Director by a majority of the votes cast, the objective of the Executive Board is to select the Managing Director by consensus, as has been the case in previous selection rounds.

The IMF has had eleven Managing Directors since it began operations in 1947. Christine Lagarde became the IMF’s eleventh Managing Director on July 5, 2011. Ms. Lagarde was appointed for a five-year term following a six week-long selection process that started on May 20, 2011. On February 19, 2016, following a selection process that commenced on January 21, 2016, Ms. Lagarde was selected to serve a second five-year term starting on July 5, 2016.