The International Monetary Fund on Thursday named chief economist Gita Gopinath to become its No. 2 official, after the dual US-Indian citizen reversed an earlier plan to move back to Harvard University.
She will replace Geoffrey Okamoto as first deputy managing director in early 2022. The appointment would mark the first time the IMF has two women occupying its most senior positions.
Gopinath had been scheduled to leave the global lender to return to Harvard in January, but decided to stay on in the wide-ranging policy role under IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva.
“I am delighted that Gita has decided to stay and accept the new responsibility,” Georgieva said, adding that Gopinath was “universally recognised as one of the world’s leading macroeconomists”.
She said Gopinath’s expertise was necessary given the increased macroeconomic challenges facing IMF member countries as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Indeed, her particular skill set — combined with her years of experience at the fund as chief economist – make her uniquely well qualified. She is the right person at the right time,” Georgieva said.
She said the IMF would realign some roles and responsibilities in its senior management team, with Gopinath to oversee surveillance activities, and research and flagship publications, while working to “foster the highest quality standards for fund publications.”
Okamoto was previously a US assistant secretary of the Treasury, focusing on international finance and development. His future plans were not made public.
- George Russell
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