Christine LaGarde is a former Olympic swimmer, a former lawyer and a former intern for a Republican member of Congress, as well as being the former French Finance Minister (the position she gave up to become head of the IMF). At the same time she is the first woman to head the IMF, a role that has always gone to Europe. She has come into the role after the controversial resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the extreme left wing economist who held the position for the last 5 or so years.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn brought scandal to the IMF. The latest allegations were not the first time that he has invited controversy over his sexual proclivities. He has a reputation for getting off with the excuse that “it was consensual”. This does not include the current criminal case against him, but it includes his affairs, forced or otherwise with female members of the IMF. At least one woman resigned over scandals associated with DSK.
As a result of those scandals, the board of the IMF have developed a set of rules and new ethical standards for the IMF. The ABC news website details the following:
Ms Lagarde’s contract holds her to “highest standards of ethical conduct consistent with the values of integrity, impartiality and discretion”.
It also requires her to avoid “even the appearance of impropriety”. Further, it states that “in the performance of your duties as managing director, you have an exclusive duty of loyalty to the fund and shall avoid any conflict of interest or the appearance of such a conflict”.
Also new is a requirement that she participate in an ethics training program mandatory for all IMF staff.