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Former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan is among the front runners for the post of International Monetary Fund’s managing director, days after Britain’s Foreign Office was urged to back an Indian for the job, according to media reports in the United Kingdom.
The IMF role fell vacant after current MD Christine Lagarde announced her resignation last week after she was nominated by the European Council as president of the European Central Bank. Her resignation takes effect from September 12.
As demands grow for the next IMF MD pick to be from outside Europe and America — as British foreign affairs committee chairman Tim Tugendhat wrote in a letter to foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt – The Sunday Times mentioned 53-year-old Rajan among the likely candidates.
“This is an ideal time for the job to be opened up to an emerging-market candidate. Raghuram Rajan, the former governor of India’s central bank… has good IMF credentials as one of its former chief economists,” wrote The Sunday Times’ economics editor David Smith.
Besides Rajan, names mentioned for the IMF role include the outgoing governor of Bank of England Mark Carney, former chancellor in the David Cameron government George Osborne, and former Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem who headed the group of finance ministers during the eurozone crisis.
Rajan, currently a professor at the University of Chicago, was often mentioned by the British media as the probable next governor for the Bank of England (BoE) — whose selection process is currently underway.
He has, however, denied applying for the job.
In an interview to BBC HARDtalk to be telecast on July 22, Rajan continued denying the rumours about being the next BoE governor, “I am perfectly happy in my job and that is not a diplomatic statement. It’s actually the truth. I haven’t applied for any job.”
“I really believe that the central banker’s job has become much more political in recent times. For that, it’s best that a country have somebody who understands the political structure within that country and how to navigate that.”
“That is something that people have to take into account when they determine who they want as the central bank governor. It’s obvious that I am an outsider and I have very little understanding of the deep ebbs and flows of politics in this country,” he said during the interview.
The new Bank of England governor is scheduled to be appointed later this year.
Carney’s term has been extended until January 2020 to support a smooth exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union and an effective transition to the next person in the key role.