Dominique Strauss-Kahn Steps Down as IMF Chief

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former managing director of the International Monetary Fund. Photo by: bixintx / CC BY-NC-ND

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned on Wednesday (May 18) as managing director of the International Monetary Fund, days after he was arrested for alleged sexual assault in the United States.

    “It is with infinite sadness that I feel compelled today to present to the executive board my resignation from my post of managing director of the IMF,” Strauss-Kahn said in a statement, where he also denied “with the greatest possible firmness” the allegations and charges against him.

    IMF said John Lipsky will continue serving as acting managing director while the executive board prepares the selection process for Strauss-Kahn’s replacement.

    “The fund will communicate in the near future on the executive board’s process of selecting a new managing director,” it said in a statement.

    >> IMF Leadership in Limbo as Managing Director Faces Criminal Raps

    There were various calls for Strauss-Kahn to step down following his arrest in New York City on Sunday (May 14). Among those who pushed for his resignation were U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who noted on Tuesday (May 17) that Strauss-Kahn is “obviously not in the position to run the IMF and it is important that the board of the IMF formally put in place for an interim period someone to act as managing director.”

    But Geithner added he is confident that IMF would be able to address this challenge and continue playing its role in international finance, the Wall Street Journal says.

    Several European finance ministers also urged the embattled chief to step down, saying his case is damaging the IMF. European leaders, however, have made it clear they want a European successor, citing the IMF’s role in efforts to contain the region’s debt crisis.

    The IMF board was reportedly divided on how to react to Strauss-Kahn’s detention and ways to proceed. Some board members believed he should step down as soon as possible while others argued that Strauss-Kahn should be given the chance to tell his side of the story, the Guardian says, citing IMF insiders.

    Even before his arrest and detention, Strauss-Kahn has reportedly been considering stepping down from his post to run as president of France in 2012. Various names have since been floated as his possible successors but the debate on who should replace him intensified after his arrest, with developing and emerging countries also expressing interest in the position, which is traditionally filled by a European.

    >> Top Possible Replacements for IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn

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    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.