The International Monetary Fund has tapped French finance minister Christine Lagarde as its new leader.
The decision makes Lagarde, 55, the first woman to lead the fund in its history. She takes the reins as a worsening debt crisis in Greece continues to shake global financial markets.
“The results are in: I am [honored] and delighted that the board has entrusted me with the position of MD of the IMF!" Lagarde said via Twitter shortly after the decision was made public.
The IMF's 24-member executive board met Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to make a final decision between Lagarde and Mexican central bank governor Agustin Carstens, her only competitor for the high-profile job.
Lagarde had been widely considered the frontrunner to take over as the fund’s managing director after former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York City on charges of sexual assault and attempted rape.
While a number of developing nations had lobbied for the fund to break with tradition and appoint a non-European to lead the fund, ultimately such efforts were unable to overcome the wishes of Europe and the United States.
Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner officially backed Lagarde, a move that all but sealed her victory, the New York Times reports.
“Minister Lagarde’s exceptional talent and broad experience will provide invaluable leadership for this indispensable institution at a critical time for the global economy,” Geithner said in his statement. “We are encouraged by the broad support she has secured among the Fund’s membership, including from the emerging economies."