Gita Gopinath will be IMF’s first woman chief economist
India-born Gita Gopinath has been appointed chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), becoming the first woman to hold the position.
‘Gita is one of the world’s outstanding economists, with impeccable academic credentials, a proven track record of intellectual leadership, and extensive international experience,’ Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s managing director said in an Oct. 01 release announcing the appointment. ‘All this makes her exceptionally well-placed to lead our research department at this important juncture.’
The John Zwaanstra professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University since 2015, Gopinath will take over from Maurice Obstfeld, who retires in December, reports qz.com.
The 46-year-old will be the second Indian to take up the position at the Washington DC-based IMF, after Raghuram Rajan (2003-06), the former Reserve Bank of India governor.
Through her work as an academic—her specialisations are macroeconomics and trade—and an economic advisor to large financial institutions and governments, Gopinath has built a credible name for herself over the years.
In 2014, Gopinath was named one of the top 25 economists under 45 by the IMF.
Gopinath has also worked closely with the Indian government.
In 2015, the government of Kerala appointed her as its economic advisor, sparking a contentious debate. Gopinath’s perceived neoliberal economic background was at odds with the state’s Leftist economics. More recently, she has been vocal in critiquing India’s Narendra Modi-led government, particularly for the slow pace of reforms and the demonetisation of high-denomination currency notes in 2016.
Now that she is firmly placed on a global platform, Gopinath is likely to be seen and heard more prominently.