Press Release: IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler Announces Changes in Organization of IMF Area Departments

July 30, 2003

Horst Köhler, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has announced a consolidation in the number of the Fund's area departments.

The organizational changes, which are intended to be implemented by November 1, 2003, follow an internal review of how best to structure and manage the Fund's area departments, in particular, in light of the changing nature of the work of the European II Department (EU2). This department was created in 1992 with the task of assisting the Baltics, Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union with the process of economic transition and integration into the global economy. Given the progress of the transition process and the prospect of European Union accession for a number of transition economies, EU2 will be dissolved, reducing the number of area departments from six to five.

Seven countries in EU2 will move to the European I Department, which will be renamed as the European Department (EUR). The other eight EU2 countries will move to the Middle Eastern Department (MED), which will be renamed as the Middle East and Central Asia Department (MCD)1.

Michael Deppler, who currently heads EU1, will be director of EUR. Initially, George Abed, who heads MED, will be director of MCD. From September 1, Mohsin Khan, currently Director of the IMF Institute, will move to MED as Associate Director, and will assume the title of Director, MCD, upon Mr. Abed's retirement in December. John Odling-Smee, who has led EU2 since its inception, has announced his intention to retire in early 2004.

The country composition of the IMF's other three area departments—the African Department, the Asia and Pacific Department, and the Western Hemisphere Department—will not change.

Announcing the moves, Mr. Köhler said: "The changes in the structure of area departments will ensure the IMF continues to provide the best possible service to our membership."

Commenting on the appointments, he said, "George Abed has brought energy and vision to the position of Director of the Middle East Department, during a particularly tumultuous time for the region. Mohsin Khan possesses the strong managerial skills, intellectual leadership, and experience needed to handle this difficult and challenging assignment. Michael Deppler brings to the task of heading the European Department proven managerial abilities and experience of a broad range of countries, including transition economies."

In a tribute to the contribution of Mr. Odling-Smee, Mr. Köhler said, "I would like to record management's true appreciation of John Odling-Smee's excellent service to the Fund and to the international community."

The appointment of a successor to Mr. Khan as Director of the IMF Institute has yet to be announced. No staff positions will be lost as a result of the organizational changes, which are expected to leave IMF administrative costs unchanged.

The review that has led to these changes was the work of a staff task force, led by Special Advisor to the Managing Director, Jack Boorman, which Mr. Köhler asked to examine the structure of area departments and make recommendations for possible improvements.

Biographical Notes

George Abed, 64, a Jordanian national, was appointed Director of MED on July 1, 2002, after a career of more than 20 years at the IMF, including as Deputy Director in the Fiscal Affairs Department. He holds a doctorate in economics from the University of California at Berkeley, where he also taught before joining the Fund. He took leave from the Fund between 1985 and 1993 to head a Geneva-based humanitarian and development assistance foundation active in the Middle East. Mr. Abed has written widely on Middle East economic issues, fiscal policy and taxation, trade, energy economics, and the economics of corruption.

Michael Deppler, 60, a U.S. national, was educated at Brown University and Georgetown University, where he received his Ph.D. in Economics in 1976. Mr. Deppler joined the IMF as an economist in 1971. He worked in the Research and European Departments, until his appointment as Deputy Director of the European I Department in 1991.

Mohsin Khan, 56, from Pakistan, has been Director of the IMF Institute since December 1996. Mr. Khan holds a B.A. from Punjab University in Pakistan, a B.Sc. in economics from the London School of Economics, an M.A. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics. He joined the IMF in 1972 as an Economist in the Financial Studies Division of the Research Department. He subsequently held increasingly senior positions in the Research Department, including Advisor, Assistant Director, and Senior Advisor. He was Deputy Director of the Research Department before being appointed Director of the IMF Institute. In his career at the IMF, Mr. Khan has been involved in operations in a number of countries, including Chile, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, and Venezuela. He has published widely on macroeconomic and monetary policies in developing countries, economic growth, international trade and finance, Islamic banking, and IMF programs.

John Odling-Smee, 60, who is British, has been Director of the European II Department of the IMF since the department was created on January 2, 1992. He has an MA in economics from Cambridge University, and taught economics at Cambridge and Oxford Universities and the London School of Economics in 1964-70 and 1972-75. He held various positions in the UK Cabinet Office and Treasury in 1975-80 and 1983-90, including that of Deputy Chief Economic Advisor in 1989-90. He joined the IMF staff for two years in 1981-82, and then rejoined in 1990 in the European Department, where he worked on Israel, Spain, the USSR and Yugoslavia. As Director of European II Department, he has responsibility for the IMF's work in the Baltic and CIS states.

1 EU1 countries are Albania, Aruba, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, France, Former Yugoslavia of Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia & Montenegro, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom. The new European Department will also include the following countries from the current EU2 Department: Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.

MED countries are Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Republic of Yemen. The new MCD will also include: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.


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