Christine Lagarde Story - First Woman MD and Chairman of the IMF
Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde is the first woman Managing Director and Chairman of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She is the 11th European to be appointed Head, IMF consecutively. She was the first woman to be the Finance Minister of a G8 economy. A French anti-trust and labour lawyer by profession, Lagarde has occupied several portfolios in the French Government. She was also the first female Chairman of Baker & McKenzie, an international law firm. Lagarde was rated as the “best Finance Minister” in the Eurozone by the Financial Times in the year 2009. Forbes ranked her fifth in the list of the world’s most powerful women.
Born on January 1st 1956 in Paris, France, to Robert Lallouette, an English Professor, and Nicole, a teacher of Latin, Greek and French literature, Lagarde spent her childhood in Le Havre. She along with her three brothers attended the Lycée François 1er and Lycée Claude Monet. Lagarde won an American Field Service scholarship to the Holton Arms School on completing her baccalaureate. She worked as an intern while in America, representing William Cohen's congressional assistant at the United States Capitol.
Lagarde has a Masters degree in English, labour law, and social law from the Paris West University Nanterre La Défense and from the Institut D'études Politiques d'Aix-en-Provence. Born with leadership qualities, Lagarde has headed the Board of Sciences Po Aix, for the last five years from 2010 onwards.
Christine Lagarde has an illustrious career to speak off. Within six years of joining the Chicago-based international law firm, Baker & McKenzie, she became a partner in the firm. Her fortitude and unwavering commitment paid off, and she was soon made Head, Baker & McKenzie in Western Europe. In a span of nine years, (1981-1995), Lagarde was on the Executive Committee. She was the first woman to become the Chairman of the firm. Success seems to be her brand, and in the year 2004, Lagarde was made President, Global Strategic Committee.
Christine Lagarde has held several portfolios in the French Ministry. Be it in the Ministry of Agriculture, or the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Lagarde has worked diligently. As the Trade Minister, she introduced new marketing strategies. The technology sector was her pet project. There is many “firsts” in Kristine’s professional life. She was the first in France to handle the economic policy.
Christine Lagarde Speaking with Obama at APEC Summit
Kristine Lagarde is the first woman to head the IMF! Lagarde was designated as the Managing Director-cum-Chairman by the IMF Board for a period of five years, from July 2011 onwards. Her application for the post was supported by the governments of Britain, China, United States, Russia, India, Brazil, Germany, Spain, Canada, Australia and several of the Latin-American governments. Lagarde’s appointment was greatly favoured. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said, “Lagarde's exceptional talent and broad experience will provide invaluable leadership for this indispensable institution at a critical time for the global economy”.
A divorcee, Lagarde has two sons, Pierre-Henri Lagarde and Thomas Lagarde from her previous marriage. She has been in a relationship with Marseille entrepreneur, Xavier Giocanti, since 2006. Lagarde is a vegetarian and very health–conscious. She loves visiting the gym, cycling and swimming.
Kristine Lagarde was awarded the highest decoration in France, “Légion d'honneur”, Chevalier, promoted officer. She has also been bestowed the Commander, “Order of Mérite Agricole”, for her exceptional contribution to agriculture. KU Leuven Kulak has awarded Lagarde an Honorary doctorate for her excellent and internationally recognised leadership qualities.