Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde

President, European Central Bank
IMF Chief Christine Lagarde Visits Fox Business Network

When Christine Lagarde became the first female president of the European Central Bank in November, replacing the hugely influential Mario Draghi, the 64-year-old Parisian confirmed her status as one of the most powerful women in the world. But Lagarde already had a string of “female firsts” to her name.

The daughter of two academics, Lagarde grew up and was educated in Le Havre and Paris, France. In October 1999, she became the first woman to chair a major international law firm, Chicago-based Baker & McKenzie. She served as France’s trade minister from 2005 to 2007, then finance minister—the first female finance minister of any G8 country—from 2007 to 2011. She was then tapped to run the International Monetary Fund when her predecessor, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was alleged to have sexually assaulted a maid in a New York hotel; the job was another first for a woman. During Lagarde’s tenure, the IMF helped steer Europe through the global financial crisis, approved a $56 billion bailout to Argentina and took progressive positions on economic inequality, global tax reform and climate change, issues she’s already indicated she’ll push the ECB to address. In another sign of how she’s embracing her new job, Lagarde has declared that she’s learning to speak German, the language of Europe’s biggest economy.

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