Caption photo: Stanley Fischer (Reuters)
Econintersect: Declarations for candidacy as head of the IMF (International MonetaryFund) closed at midnight Friday and Stanley Fischer, governor of the Bank of Israel, announced his candidacy at the very last minute. This was a surpise move since Mr. Fischer is 67 and the IMF by-laws set the maximum age for the managing director at 65. For Fischer to be elected the age requirement would have to be set aside by the IMF executive board.From the Financial Times:
Fischer helped steer Israel’s economy back to growth after the worst global recession since World War II. The central bank forecasts Israel’s economy will expand 5.2 percent this year.
In August 2009, Fischer became the first central bank governor to reverse course in response to signs of a financial recovery when he raised the benchmark interest rate by a quarter point to 0.75 percent. He was given a second five-year term last year and was named central bank governor of the year for 2010 by Euromoney magazine in October.
Fischer earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the London School of Economics. He then won a scholarship from MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he studied under future Nobel laureate economists Paul Samuelson and Robert Solow. He later joined the faculty at MIT, serving as the thesis adviser to Ben S. Bernanke, now the Federal Reserve chairman.
From 1988 to 1990, he was chief economist at the Washington-based World Bank. As first deputy managing director of the IMF during the 1990s, Fischer worked to resolve financial crises in Mexico, Russia and Southeast Asia.
The new IMF managing director will succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned last month after he was charged in New York with attempted rape. Strauss-Kahn has pleaded not guilty.
Other candidates are Christine Lagarde, finance minister of France, and Augustin Carstens, Mexican central bank governor. Although Legarde is considered the favorite, Fischer has more direct IMF experience, being formerly second in command of the organization. Another factor that Lagarde must overcome is a sentiment around the globe calling for a non-European managing director.