29 Jun 2011

France's Lagarde elected IMF head

8:16 am on 29 June 2011

The International Monetary Fund has elected French Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde as its new managing director.

Ms Lagarde's election by the 24-member executive board on Tuesday was assured after emerging powers China, Russia and Brazil declared their support for her and the United States followed with its endorsement.

The 55-year-old is the first woman to head the global lender.

She succeeds Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned in May to defend himself against charges of sexual assault against a hotel maid in New York, Reuters reports.

Ms Lagarde begins her five-year term on 5 July amid an escalating debt crisis in Europe and growing fears that Greece will default.

Within minutes of her appointment, Ms Lagarde called on the opposition in Greece to back the government's austerity plan.

Mexico's Central Bank Governor Agustin Carstens also sought to be IMF's managing director.