Christine Lagarde: 5 things to know about the nominee for ECB president

By EuropeFOXBusiness

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Christine Lagarde could be the first woman to lead the European Central Bank (ECB).

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Lagarde, 63, who is the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was nominated Tuesday to be the next president of the ECB.

Though her nomination still has to be formally approved, if she is chosen, she would be the first woman -- but the second French national -- to be in the position.

The current ECB President Mario Draghi, from Italy, is finishing up his 8-year tenure, which will be completed in October. The two previous ECB presidents were Jean-Claude Trichet, also from France, who served from 2003 to 2011 and Wim Duisenberg, from the Netherlands, who served from 1998 to 2003.


"I am honored to have been nominated for the ECB presidency," Lagarde wrote in a tweet on Tuesday. "In light of this, and in consultation with the Ethics Committee of the IMF Executive Board, I have decided to temporarily relinquish my responsibilities as IMF Managing Director during the nomination period."

Here are five things to know about the new nominee for president of the European Central Bank.

She was the first woman to be the managing director of the IMF

Lagarde became the managing director of the IMF in 2011 and was the first woman to hold the position, according to her IMF page.

She was elected again and started her second term in 2016, which will run out in 2021. However, after announcing she had been nominated for president of the ECB, she said she would be temporarily giving up her IMF responsibilities.

She served in the French government for several years

Before joining the IMF, Lagarde worked in the French government. She started as the minister of trade in 2005. She also served a short term as the minister for agriculture and fisheries before she became France’s finance and economy minister in 2007. She left that role in 2011 when she became the IMF managing director.

She was found guilty of negligence in a payout trial

In 2016, French judges found Lagarde guilty of negligence for failing to challenge a 400 million euro ($417 million) state arbitration payout to controversial businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008 when she was France's finance minister.

Despite the ruling, the judges on the case decided not to hand down jail time for her decision to allow the rare out-of-court arbitration payment. She denied the negligence charges, but did not appeal the conviction. She was also able to keep her job as head of the IMF.

She was ranked as the third most powerful woman in the world

In Forbes’ 2018 listing, Lagarde is ranked as the third most powerful woman in the world, behind Germany's Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Lagarde was also listed as the 22nd most powerful person in 2018, above Apple’s CEO Tim Cook (No. 24) and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (No. 26).


She was a synchronized swimmer

According to her IMF page, Lagarde was a member of the French national synchronized swimming team. According to Forbes, she was a member of the team when she was a teenager.

FOX Business’ Megan Henney to this report.