IMF head's selection 'must be merit based'

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pretoria - The selection of a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) head should be made urgently and should be appointed through an open, transparent and merit based process.

In a joint statement on Sunday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan on the Selection Process of the Managing Director of the IMF said that following the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn last week, members of the IMF must act decisively.

"The task is urgent given the current challenges facing the global economy, including in particular the needs of low income and developing countries who rely on the IMF for support," said the two leaders, adding that the global financial crisis demonstrated the need for a strong managing director.

Commitments made by G20 leaders on the reform of International Financial Institutions should be adhered to, particularly those made in Pittsburgh where leaders agreed that the heads and senior leadership of all international institutions "should be appointed through an open, transparent and merit-based process."

"Australia and South Africa, as co-chairs of the G20 IMF Reform Working Group, want to underscore the importance of adhering to the commitments agreed to by G20 leaders regarding the selection of the next managing director of the IMF," said the leaders.

On Friday, the Dean of the Executive Board of the IMF Shakour Shaalan said the board has adopted a procedure that allows the selection of the next managing director to take place in an open, merit based, and transparent manner.

"There was broad support in the Executive Board for this procedure," he said. The nomination period for the closing of the post begins today closing on 10 June.

"Although the Executive Board may select a Managing Director by a majority of the votes cast, the objective of the Executive Board is to select the Managing Director by consensus with the objective of completing the selection process by 30 June 2011," said the IMF.

Gordhan and Swan said that for too long, the institution's legitimacy has been undermined by a convention to appoint its senior management on the basis of their nationality.

"In order to maintain trust, credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of its stakeholders, there must be an open and transparent selection process which results in the most competent person being appointed as Managing Director, regardless of their nationality, said Swan and Gordhan.

Strauss-Kahn resigned following sexual-assault charges in the US.