Suma Chakrabarti, the dark horse in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s presidential race, has beaten four other contenders for the position.
The bank’s board of governors made the surprise decision May 18, when they chose Chakrabarti to head EBRD in the next four years. Chakrabarti, permanent secretary at the British Ministry of Justice, was not expected to win given an unwritten rule excluding Britons from heading the bank, which maintains headquarters in London.
Chakrabarti took the seat from Thomas Mirow, who had eyed a second four-year term as EBRD president. He also beat former Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic, former Prime Minister of Poland Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, and Philippe de Fontaine Vive Curtaz, vice president of the European Investment Bank and France’s candidate for the position.
The 53-year-old Indian-born U.K. official has had substantial experience in international development. Prior to his current position, he was permanent secretary at the U.K. Overseas Development Administration, now known as the U.K. Department for International Development, Economic Times reports. He also held posts at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Chakrabarti, whose term starts July 3, says his focus will be on the bank’s mandate of democracy promotion. He will be the first Briton to head the EBRD. The post has always been held either by a German or French national.
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