Young job seeker is interviewed at a job fair in Barcelona. Spain's youth unemployment remains among the highest in the European Union. (Photo: Gustau Nacarino/Reuters/Newscom)

Young job seeker is interviewed at a job fair in Barcelona. Spain's youth unemployment remains among the highest in the European Union. (Photo: Gustau Nacarino/Reuters/Newscom)

IMF Survey: U.K.'s Brown Steps Aside as IMFC Head

July 11, 2007

  • Brown resigns as IMFC chairman
  • IMF Board holds discussion on his resignation
  • "Particularly rich and productive tenure," de Rato says

Gordon Brown, chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), has tendered his resignation as head of the IMF's policy advisory committee after becoming British prime minister, the IMF announced on July 11.

U.K.'s Brown Steps Aside as IMFC Head

Gordon Brown (right) with Managing Director de Rato during an IMF meeting in Washington (IMF file photo)

IMF Governance

Brown's resignation, effective July 8, clears the way for the 24-member IMF panel to begin the process of selecting a new chairman.

Brown, as U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer, had been head of the key committee and the previous "interim" committee since 1999. He became prime minister on June 27.

"Mr. Brown's tenure as Chairman of the IMFC was particularly rich and productive, spanning 16 ministerial meetings," noted Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato, who himself announced last month his intention to step down in October for personal reasons.

"This was a period characterized by deep transformation of the global economy and of the role being played by the Fund in it. Throughout this period, the Fund, and the international community at large, greatly benefited from the IMFC's advice and guidance," said de Rato, following discussions on July 11 with the IMF Executive Board on Brown's resignation as IMFC chairman.

Need to maintain momentum

The managing director noted Brown's important role in supporting the development and implementation of the IMF's Medium-Term Strategy for institutional reform. "It is crucially important that the momentum built under Mr. Brown's leadership not be lost in the coming months," de Rato said, adding, "Our common objective is to ensure that a new IMFC Chairman is selected expeditiously so that there will be no break in the Committee's important work."

The IMFC, typically comprising finance ministers and central bank governors, has operated since September 30, 1999 following a resolution of the IMF Board of Governors. The resolution transformed the Interim Committee of the Board of Governors on the International Monetary System (usually known simply as the Interim Committee)—established in 1974—into the IMFC. The change signified a strengthening of the role of the primary advisory committee of the Board of Governors.

As with the Interim Committee, the IMFC usually meets twice a year—before the Bank-Fund Annual Meetings in the autumn and at what are referred to as the Spring Meetings.

IMFC selection process

The Board of Governors resolution on the IMFC stipulates that its Chair is selected by the Committee to serve for such period as the Committee determines.

In line with the selection of the previous 15 chairmen of the IMFC and its predecessor, the Interim Committee, the process of selecting the Chair involves consultations among IMFC members at the level of IMF Executive Directors and in capitals of member countries until a consensus on a new IMFC Chair is reached.

Moving forward on MD selection

The IMF's Executive Directors met informally on July 9 to begin the process for the selection of the Managing Director to succeed de Rato, who became head of the 185-member international lending institution in 2004.

Under the IMF's Articles of Agreement, the Executive Board is responsible for the selection of the Managing Director. Any Executive Director may submit a nomination, regardless of nationality, for the position. Directors plan to meet again shortly to finalize the selection procedure for the Managing Director.