First woman Minister of Economy in France, the first woman to head the International Monetary Fund, just 60 years, it has built its ascent by piercing the glass ceiling that usually reserve the highest positions to men.
The one that was in another life as a corporate lawyer in the United States, has a term for this: there would, she says, a “ insidious conspiracy ” that would slow the arrival of women in positions of power.
She herself has experienced early in his career. In an interview in a leading French law firm, she was told she would never be promoted to an associate. “ I asked why and + ‘+. + They said because you are a woman + ,” she told recently.
The daughter of teachers who grew up in Le Havre has, however, managed to overcome these obstacles to get a place in the elite of world leaders where his silver hair is now part of the landscape in the Forum Davos as in the G20 summits.
– Straight Talk –
His appearance in public life not yet dates back to 2005. While president of the US law firm Baker & amp; McKenzie is debauched by the French right and between the government of Dominique de Villepin she inherits the modest portfolio of Foreign Trade.
However, it takes up the ranks quickly and moved two years later to the orders of the Ministry of Economy of signing a lease for a record longevity.
The career of the mother of two son again takes on a new dimension when it is powered, in July 2011, the head of the IMF and its 188 member states, during the debt crisis in Europe and when the world was just emerging from a severe recession.
Another challenge the more personal then expects Washington, IMF Headquarters: take over from Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was swept away by a sex scandal but whose economic expertise was unanimously welcomed in the institution.
With the most consensual face of a woman vegetarian, athletic and non-smoker, Lagarde tries patiently to restore the institution’s image by arguing, in perfect English, for fiscal orthodoxy to around the world and especially in Greece.
On this hot folder, it will not hesitate to offend his old European partners and sometimes break with diplomatic practice.
“ The urgency is to restore dialogue with adults in the room ,” she says dryly in June 2015, during yet another trading last luck devoted to Greece in Brussels.
His outspokenness, which had played tricks on him in France, will cause an outcry in spring 2012 when she called the Greeks, drained by the austerity plans, to pay all “ their taxes .”
– Greek Reviews –
This is also of Athens that will come a few years later, the most virulent attacks against the IMF, accused by authorities to have a “ criminal liability ” in the austerity measures imposed on the country.
Faced with criticism, Lagarde has often challenged the legend of an IMF “ intransigent and inhumane ” and tried to open, with relative success, the institution of issues that are unfamiliar to him, such as climate change or social inequalities.
The bottom of his economic thinking remains elusive but its balance sheet Fund has two major achievements: the recognition of the Chinese yuan as a reference currency and especially the release of a comprehensive reform of the IMF gives more weight to large emerging countries.
The only shadow on this immaculate CV actually comes from France and Bernard Tapie affair-Crédit Lyonnais, which led to it being referred to the court for his alleged “ negligence “when Economy Minister, she had authorized the use of arbitration which proved favorable to the businessman.
The one that had for a time toyed with the idea of a policy back to France on the basis of flattering polls did not hide being affected by these legal troubles.
“ I have my conscience for me in this case. I hope that justice, at the end of the procedure, as long and painful as it is, would agree “has she said recently.