Lagarde, Christine

Lagarde, Christine (Christine Madeleine Odette Lallouette Lagarde) krĭstēnˈ lägärdˈ [key], 1956–, French lawyer and government official, the first woman to head the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She graduated from Univ. of Paris X, Nanterre, with a law degree and from the Political Sciences Institute, Aix-en-Provence, with a masters degree. Lagarde joined a Chicago-based international law firm in 1981, specialized in labor and antitrust matters, and rose to become chair of its global executive committee in 1999. She entered the French government in 2005 as minister of foreign trade, was briefly minister of agriculture (2007), and then served (2007–11) as minister of finance. The first woman to hold the finance post, she moved to reinvigorate France's slumping economy, cut its deficit, and reduce its debt. As chair of the Group of Eight (G-8) in 2011, she launched a program to reform the international monetary system. That same year, after the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Lagarde was named managing director of the IMF. As IMF head, she has advocated responsible fiscal policies but has been critical of austerity pursued at the expense of economic growth. In 2016 she was found guilty of negligence when she was finance minister (but was not penalized) for not appealing (2008) a multimillion dollar arbitration award against the French government that was later invalidated; prosecutors had more than once called the evidence weak. In 2019 Lagarde was appointed president of the European Central Bank. Lagarde is the author of a number of books on law, trade, and finance.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: French History: Biographies