Is Christine Legarde likely to be the next Managing Director of the IMF? And if she were to be chosen, would she be a good choice?
Obviously, as I’m not a banker, or even a banking observer, I don’t feel able to speak with much authority. But as a political observer, I can say that Ms Legarde comes across as an expert politician. Her comments that Lehman Sisters may not have failed as spectacularly as Lehman Brothers, and that too much testosterone in one room had a negative effect, were political rather than financial statements. More importantly, she appears to be respected by both political and financial institutions, regarded as being a relatively safe pair of hands without the accompanying dullness.
For a job where the norm has been a white, wealthy, European politician, Christine Legarde doesn’t deviate much from expectations. But the fact that she is a woman, especially given the fact that the last post-holder has been charged with attempted rape, gives her an outsider quality.
Will she get the position simply because she is a woman? No, her expertise ensures that she is capable of doing the job. She is more likely to miss out on the opportunity not because she is a woman, but because, like Dominique Strauss-Khan, Christine Legarde is French. In this case, nationality may count for more than gender.