IMF Says Chief Economist Gopinath To Replace Okamoto As No. 2 Official

WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund said its second ranking official, First Deputy Managing Director Geoffrey Okamoto, will leave the Fund in early 2022 and will be replaced by Gita Gopinath, who currently serves as the IMF’s chief economist.

Gopinath had been scheduled to leave the global lender to return to Harvard University in January, but decided to stay on in the wide-ranging policy role under IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF said.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Gopinath was “universally recognized as one of the world’s leading macroeconomists” and had precisely the expertise needed for the No. 2 job, 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.

Gopinath, the first woman to serve as the Fund’s chief economist, has played a key role in broadening the role of the IMF’s research department, creating a new analytical approach to help countries respond to international capital flows, and also worked on a detailed IMF plan to end the pandemic, she said.

Okamoto said he would return to the private sector after over a decade of “intensive public service,” but gave no details about his next position.

Georgieva 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.”

A dual citizen of the United States and India, Gopinath will start her new role on Jan. 21, shortly after the IMF releases an update to its World Economic Outlook.

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