ONE OF the major purposes of the IEO is to enhance the “learning culture” of the IMF. Those who laid the foundations of the IEO—and I was one of them—obviously had in mind not only IMF staff and management but also the Executive Directors themselves, whose learning culture stood to be improved in many areas.
In this context, it makes sense for a former IMF Executive Director to try to answer the following question candidly; Would I, as a member of the Board, have been better equipped if the IEO’s analysis of today had been available to me? My answer is definitely affirmative, but with two caveats. First, the information available to the IEO today is often much broader than the information that was available to the Board in the past when it was making difficult decisions. Second, the IEO is able to analyze those decisions—which were often made under extreme pressure—with the benefit of hindsight. Thus, my answer to this question must be taken with a grain of salt.