WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has picked its Chief Economist Gita Gopinath to become the Fund’s second-highest ranking official.
She will replace Geoffrey Okamoto as the first deputy managing director early next year.
Gopinath had been scheduled to return to her academic position at Harvard University in January, according to a statement from the IMF. She is on leave of public service from Harvard University’s economics department.
“Especially given that the pandemic has led to an increase in the scale and scope of the macroeconomic challenges facing our member countries, I believe that Gita – universally recognised as one of the world’s leading macroeconomists – has precisely the expertise that we need for the FDMD role at this point,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said. “She is the right person at the right time.”
The Washington-based fund is realigning the roles and responsibilities of its senior management team to tackle the complex policy choices and difficult trade-offs facing the IMF’s 190 member countries, she added.
Gopinath, who is a US national and overseas citizen of India, is the first female chief economist in IMF history. Her contribution to the IMF’s work has already been exceptional, especially her “intellectual leadership in helping the global economy and the Fund to navigate the twists and turns of the worst economic crisis of our lives,” Georgieva said.
“Over the past three years, I have had the opportunity to experience first-hand and be a part of the hugely important work done by the IMF at the intersection of rigorous economic analysis and public policy,” Gopinath said.
“It has been so gratifying to see the positive impact of our work on economies and on the lives of so many people worldwide. As the pandemic continues its grip on us, the work of the Fund has never been more critical and international cooperation never more important.”