Christine Lagarde Doesn't Feel French

The new IMF chief spoke to reporters for the first time Wednesday, stressing diversity

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Christine Lagarde is standing up for the International Monetary Fund in her first week on the job. In her maiden press conference on Wednesday afternoon, the newly appointed managing director and Dominique Strauss-Kahn's successor stressed the need for greater diversity and renewed credibility at the IMF. "First of all, let's focus on those connections and those connecting-points between economies, within economies, and make sure that our services and our advice are actually properly including that particular aspect," Lagarde said at the presser. "For the fund to be credible, its analysis, its work, needs to be candid, needs to be credible, needs to be even-handed. There is no one category of country that deserves special treatment and another one that will receive harsh treatment."

Born into a family of Parisien academics, Lagarde positioned herself in the center of the diversity challenge. "I don't feel specifically French or European," she said. "I feel very much a member of the whole community." In their report, The New York Times expressed Lagarde's eagerness to persue change in addition to her international outlook:

“I thought it was necessary to come back to D.C. very promptly simply because there are so many issues to address,” Ms. Lagarde said by way of introduction to her first official press conference. “It cannot wait for another summer holiday. Here I am, and for good.”

When Ms. Lagarde last met with reporters at the fund’s headquarters, during the organization’s annual spring meetings, she appeared as a representative of France and made a point of speaking mostly in French. On Wednesday, settling into her new role as an international official, she spoke exclusively in English, even when addressed in French.

Another detail from the Times report: "Ms. Lagarde will make $467,940 in her new job, plus a stipend of $83,760, all of it untaxed."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.