It’s difficult to remember this now, but when Jay Powell first took the helm of the Federal Reserve, some were concerned that, as a non-economist, he lacked the intellectual chops to lead a central bank. Well, another non-economist is about to take control of another central bank and in spite of Powell’s, uh, difficulties, has been met with little short of rapturous applause.
When Lagarde was nominated to the post this week, some worried that, as a lawyer by training, she might lack the economic chops to oversee the region’s monetary policy. Such concerns seem overblown…. To truly prepare the euro area for whatever tests may come, the ECB president will need to be a lot more than a monetary-policy expert. She must also have the political will and conviction to push for the deeper structural changes crucial to making the currency union viable. On that front, the lessons Lagarde appears to have learned over the past decade should prove invaluable.
Christine Lagarde, the incoming president of the European Central Bank, is not an economist. That's a good thing….
What she brings to the ECB is a knack for handling the biggest jobs, savvy political instincts honed at the national and then international level, and deep connections in global finance.
It's precisely those skills that make Lagarde such an attractive choice to lead the ECB, one of the world's three most important central banks and a bulwark against instability in Europe.
European Central Bank policymaker Benoit Coeure defended on Sunday the nomination of outgoing International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde to lead the ECB, calling her “uniquely qualified” after critics said she lacked relevant experience….
“She knows how the global economy works. She knows how Europe works. And she knows how to talk to financial markets,” he added.
There’s plenty more where that came from. There are also plenty of reasons beyond her lack of an academic qualification in economics, such as her long record of being wrong about things, her less-than-always-rosy relationships with Washington and Berlin, and her apparent indifference to the brutal murder of dissident journalists in foreign embassies. Oh yea, and that time her apartment was raided and she was convicted of being unable to manage a €400 million payout, which is significantly smaller than the €2 trillion in stimulus the ECB’s managed.
But now is seemingly not the time to concern ourselves with those things. Instead, we simply congratulate Madame Lagarde for not having to take those phone calls from Steve Mnuchin anymore.
IMF’s Christine Lagarde nominated for top job at European Central Bank [CNBC]
Lagarde Is the Right Choice for the ECB [Bloomberg]
Christine Lagarde is not a central banker. She’s just what Europe needs [CNN]
Lagarde ‘uniquely qualified’ to head ECB: Coeure [Reuters]
Christine Lagarde Is Picked as E.C.B.’s New President. What Does the Bank Do? [NYT]