On May 4, the IMF’s Executive Board will take up the candidacies of Mohamed El-Erian and Rodrigo Rato to head the IMF. The Managing Director is the institution’s chief executive officer, serving as head of the IMF’s approximately 2,700 staff and as chair of the 24-member Executive Board, which is responsible for conducting the IMF’s day-to-day business. The Board is also responsible for the selection ofthe Managing Director.
On April 28-29, the full Board met separately with each candidate. These meetings, which lasted several hours, allowed the Executive Directors to pose questions to the candidates. In addition to their meetings with the full Board, El-Erian, a former staff member of the IMF and currently a managing director of the private investment group PIMCO, and Rato, who until the recent election in Spain had served as that country’s Minister of Finance, also held a number ofmeetings with individual Directors.
The procedures for the Board’s selection of a new Managing Director are set out in the IMF’s Articles of Agreement—its charter—but this simply states that “the Executive Board shall select a Managing Director who shall not be a Governor or an Executive Director.” The Board is thus left with considerable discretion as to how to carry out the selection, but has typically reached a decision based on a consensus across the membership.