Gordon Brown for IMF Chief?

    Gordon Brown, former U.K. prime minister. Photo by: World Economic Forum / CC BY-SA 2.0 World Economic ForumCC BY-SA 2.0

    What’s next for former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown? Possibly a stint as managing director of the International Monetary Fund, at least according to rumors circulating in Washington and London.

    Brown’s commitment to eradicating third world poverty and his leadership during the financial crisis makes him a serious contender for IMF leadership, former officials of the fund have noted.

    “He was deeply respected by his peers and he provided an important contribution to the policy making of the institution,” the Brooking Institution’s Domenico Lombardi told Agence France-Presse. Lombardi was on the fund’s executive board during Brown’s tenure as chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee.

    There are others that argue the opposite.

    “On Gordon Brown’s watch, the British banks became too-big-to-fail and the budget deficit spiraled out of control,” Simon Johnson, a former IMF chief economist, said.

    Johnson also noted that Brown was a “model of resistance to honest advice and transparency on the part of the IMF.”

    Calls for changes in the long-running European leadership of the IMF may also prove a challenge to Brown should he vie for the managing director position, AFP reports.

    Johnson noted that the G-7 has repeatedly promised to relinquish Europe’s claim to the IMF leadership. Brown himself said in Brail in 2007 that “the next head of the World Bank need not be an American. The next head of the IMF need not be a European.”

    “It is going to be a very tricky issue,” Lombardi explained. “For Europeans to lose the privilege of nominating a candidate for the managing directorship, you also need the Americans to forego that privilege at the World Bank. That does not appear to be the case at the moment.”

    About the author

    • 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.