It’s an elegant woman who steps into the offices of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington. Lavishly dressed with the top French couture, she is the best representative of what can be an executive woman “à la française”.
There is no denying about her, she’s part of the elite.
She is appreciated overseas for her a fluent English but also in France were she was a valuable Minister of finances with an astonishing curriculum.
Born in Paris, in 1956, she is the daughter of two academics in literature. After that she studied political sciences in Aix en Provence and in Paris, she took a law degree at the Nanterre University in labor law. She did not pass the exam leading to the Ecole National d’Administration (ENA), an elite school leading to political and administrative careers, but instead she became a lawyer.
She joined the Baker & McKenzie firm in Paris in 1981. After 25 years of career she took all the steps and became Partner in Charge of the firm in Paris and became in 1999 the first woman elected chairman of the executive committee in Chicago.1)
All those successes were not unheard by the French officials and politicians.
Even if she is almost unknown for the French citizens, Nicolas Sarkozy, a former lawyer, who is fond of the “American dream” found in Christine Lagarde one of her most competent ministry after his election in 2007.
He appoints her as the new Trade Minister between 2005 and May 2007. Then she joined François Fillon’s cabinet in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, industry and Employment.
She became, one more time the first woman to ever be in charge of economic policy in France.
What makes Christine L. so irresistible?
Christine Lagarde is what we can call a “Pragmatic liberal”, she is follower of a certain regulation. Her economic position is suitable in a right government and also in the IMF.
Christine Lagarde does not only have skills and legitimacy, she also got luck.
Indeed, after Dominique Strauss Kahn apprehension in New York and his resignation an empty seat at the IMF was free to take.
French officials, wanted to keep this seat French and appointed Christine Lagarde to take the succession of Dominique Strauss Kahn in May 2011.
Her candidacy received the support of the United States, Russian, Bristish, German, Indian and Chinese governments, and once again she became the first woman ever to head the IMF. 2).
Can a political scandal end the Christine Lagarde success story?
After a shameful resignation of Dominique Strauss Kahn, some French investigations journalist wondered if appointing Christine Lagarde was a good idea.
Indeed, the image of our French politicians was seriously jeopardized.
Many people were shocked to see a possible contender of Nicolas Sarkozy for the presidential elections to be handcuffed by the New York police officers.
An arbitration case involving a French businessman enlighten Christine Lagarde personal role when she was the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Bernard Tapie who lost twice in regular French court in his trial against the French State in order to obtain reparation of alleged prejudices had surprisingly convinced the French State to choose to settle their case with arbitration.
Christine Lagarde is presumed to have decided to accept arbitration against the opinion of the services of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The result of that arbitration led the French State to pay to M. Tapie 285 millions euros including 45 millions in retributory damages which is a record amount in France.3)
Some investigations are currently made by the Court of Justice of the Republic, a special court created to try ministers for alleged offences committed while in office, to investigate about Christine Lagarde responsibility.
Christine Lagarde is a woman of successes, and with her new position at the IMF she is one of the most powerful women in the world.
It’s really hard to think that there can be a bad ending to Christine Lagarde story.
Di Moad Nefati