IMF Economic Counsellor and Director of Research Olivier Blanchard To Retire from the Fund

May 14, 2015

Press Release No. 15/219
May 14, 2015

Mr. Olivier Blanchard, Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has notified IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde of his intention to retire from the Fund, effective September 30, 2015.

“As one of the world’s leading macroeconomists, Olivier has been on the forefront of the Fund’s response to the global financial crisis, spurring a fundamental rethinking of macroeconomic policy that is still reverberating in academic and policy circles,” Ms. Lagarde said.

“On a more personal note, I have immensely valued Olivier’s intellectual leadership, wise counsel, friendship and loyalty during the past four years. Like everyone else at the Fund, I will miss him,” she added.

Under Mr. Blanchard’s leadership, the IMF’s Research Department and its flagship publication, the World Economic Outlook, has further enhanced the reputation of the Fund.

The WEO is the most influential economic outlook produced by a public institution and is used by policymakers as a baseline the world over.

The “Rethinking Macro Policy” Conference Series, initiated by Mr. Blanchard and now in its third year, also continues to attract the most outstanding scholars and policymakers in the world—including several Nobel Prize winners—and the IMF’s Annual Research Conference has become a leading venue for ground breaking research.

“These achievements are testament not only to Olivier’s remarkable intellectual powers but also his unwavering commitment to rigorous and data-driven research—qualities, which combined with his personal warmth and unique sense of humor, will leave an indelible mark on the Fund and all of us who have been privileged to work with him,” Ms Lagarde said.

A citizen of France, Mr. Blanchard has spent most his professional life in the United States. After obtaining his PhD in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977, he taught at Harvard University for a few years before returning to MIT in 1982. He became Chairman of MIT’s Economics Department in 1998, a position he held until 2003. He was appointed as the IMF’s Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department in 2008.

Mr. Blanchard’s distinguished career and his multifaceted contributions have made him one of the world’s most cited economists. He has worked on a wide range of issues, including the role of monetary policy, the nature of speculative bubbles, the functioning of the labor market and determinants of unemployment, transition in the former communist countries, and the Great Financial Crisis. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including two textbooks in macroeconomics which have become standards—and one of which he co-authored with Stanley Fischer, former IMF First Deputy Managing Director and now Vice Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Mr. Blanchard also holds numerous academic distinctions and awards. He was the Robert M. Solow professor at MIT, where he is now emeritus. He is a fellow and past council member of the Econometric Society, a past vice president of the American Economic Association, a member of the American Academy of Sciences, and was awarded Chevalier, Legion d’Honneur in 2008.

Upon his departure, Mr. Blanchard will take up a position as the C. Fred Bergsten Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

The search process to identify a successor to Mr. Blanchard will begin right away.


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