Press Release: IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde Appoints Maurice Obstfeld as Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF’s Research Department

July 20, 2015

Press Release No.15/343
July 20, 2015

Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), today announced her intention to appoint Professor Maurice Obstfeld as Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF’s Research Department. Mr. Obstfeld succeeds Olivier Blanchard whose retirement was announced previously. He is expected to begin his work at the Fund on September 8, 2015.

“I am thrilled to have Maurice join us at the Fund. His outstanding academic credentials and extensive international experience make him exceptionally well placed to provide intellectual leadership to the IMF at this important juncture. He is known around the globe for his work on international economics and is considered one of the most influential macroeconomists in the world,” Ms. Lagarde said.

A Professor of Economics (and former Chair of the Department of Economics) at the University of California, Berkeley, Mr. Obstfeld has advised many governments and consulted at central banks all over the world. He is currently serving as a member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, on leave from Berkeley.

Mr. Obstfeld is the co-author of two seminal textbooks on international economics—Foundations of International Macroeconomics with former IMF Economic Counsellor Kenneth Rogoff, and International Economics with Paul Krugman and Marc Melitz—as well as more than 100 research articles on exchange rates, international financial crises, global capital markets, and monetary policy. Among his many honors are the John von Neumann Award, the Bernhard Harms Prize, and the Tjalling C. Koopmans Asset Award of Tilburg University.

Mr. Obstfeld received his Ph.D. in economics from MIT in 1979 after earning a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. from Cambridge University. He joined Berkeley in 1989 as a professor, following appointments at Columbia (1979–1986) and the University of Pennsylvania (1986–1989). He was also a visiting professor at Harvard from 1989 to 1991.

Mr. Obstfeld has also held numerous honorary and advisory positions in academia and the public sector. He served from 2002 to 2014 as an honorary advisor to the Bank of Japan's Institute of Monetary and Economic Studies, and is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has served both on the Executive Committee and as Vice President of the American Economic Association. He has also been a Research Fellow at the IMF on four separate occasions, most recently in 2012.

“The position of Economic Counsellor is of fundamental importance to the IMF’s ability to provide its global membership with the best possible independent analysis and policy advice. I am confident that we have found an exceptional candidate in Maurice to take this work forward,” Ms Lagarde said.


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