Nominations for IMF Managing Director
The IMF Executive Board has received three nominations for the post of the next Managing Director to succeed Michel Camdessus, who resigned effective mid-February (see page 67).
On February 22, the Board received the nominations of Stanley Fischer, the current Acting Managing Director of the IMF, and Eisuke Sakakibara, former Vice Minister of Finance of Japan. On February 29, it received the nomination of Caio Koch-Weser, State Secretary for International Finance of Germany. Fischer was nominated by Jose Pedro de Morais, Jr., Executive Director for a number of African member countries; Sakakibara was nominated by Yukio Yoshimura, Executive Director for Japan; and. Koch-Weser was nominated, on behalf of the member states of the European Union, by Joao Santos, an Advisor in the Board constituency that includes Portugal, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union. A supporting statement was made by Bernd Esdar, Executive Director for Germany. The IMF’s Executive Directors are in consultation with their respective authorities on the nominations received. Also, statements by the nominating Directors have been posted on the IMF’s website (www.imf.org).
Stanley Fischer has served as First Deputy Managing Director of the IMF since September 1994. Born in Zambia, he was educated at the London School of Economics and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was then successively an assistant professor of economics at the University of Chicago and a professor of economics at MIT. He has also held visiting professorships at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of numerous books and articles in the field of economics.
Eisuke Sakakibara is currently a professor at Keio University and a special advisor to the Japanese Ministry of Finance. He holds degrees from the universities of Tokyo and Michigan and served in a number of positions in the Ministry of Finance before being appointed Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs in 1997. He was also an economist at the IMF from 1971 to 1975 and a visiting associate professor of economics at Harvard University during 1980-81. Sakakibara is the author of a number of publications on the Japanese economy and other economic topics.
Caio Koch-Weser has been State Secretary for International Finance at the German Finance Ministry since May 1999. Prior to that, he served for 25 years with the World Bank in a number of positions, including those of personal assistant to then Bank President Robert S. McNamara, Deputy Treasurer, Director for West Africa, Division Chief for China, and Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, before being appointed Managing Director for Operations in 1996.
Under the terms of Article XII of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, the Executive Board has the responsibility of selecting the Managing Director, who should be neither a governor of the IMF nor an Executive Director. Once selected, the Managing Director serves as both chairman of the Board—where he exercises no vote except a deciding vote in the case of an equal division—and chief of the operating staff of the IMF.
The Board’s aim is to reach agreement on the selection of the next Managing Director by consensus through discussion and through a process in which flexibility takes precedence over formalism. To this end, the Board held an informal straw poll by secret ballot on March 2. In the poll, Caio Koch-Weser received the largest share of voting power; Stanley Fischer received the second largest; and Eisuke Sakakibara, the third largest. Executive Directors will continue to consult with each other and their national authorities on the next steps. Although the poll can be only indicative, it enables the Board, and in particular its Dean—Abbas Mirakhor, Executive Director for the Board constituency that includes the Islamic Republic of Iran—to gauge the support for different candidates and judge the emergence of a consensus.