Monday, February 16, 2009

Gordon Brown to lead the IMF?

Maybe; then again, maybe not...

On one hand, as Jackey Ashley writes in today's Guardian,

It starts with the 2 April London G20 summit. This will be an important moment, with lots of red carpet, as leaders queue to be photographed with President Obama. But as the world stares at full-blown depression, with countries such as China and Germany under huge pressure to do more to revive the global economy, it's a lot more important than that. What will actually come out of it? Well, there's one near-certainty: agreement about the need for a new global financial regulator, whether based inside or outside the IMF.

I'm told the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has a favourite candidate to head this new body - Gordon Brown. She is said to be quietly pushing the idea behind the scenes and getting quite a good reaction from other leaders. Obama can be won over, says my source, and even Sarkozy would be pleased to see the man he's been tussling with off the European stage.

While, on the other, as Martin Kettle responds in the same newspaper,

...would Brown really be the right man for the revamped IMF? Even if – and it's a big if – there is a successful G20 that reforms the global financial institutions in the way that the British would like, it does not follow that Brown would be the right choice to run it. For one thing, as Jackie says, he is one of the many authors of the failed financial regime that the new IMF would be replacing. For another, the French and Germans would be very reluctant to lose their existing control of the IMF managing directorship to a British candidate, while for yet another – and for me this is the clincher – Brown's style of working means he is simply not good at running large collegiate organisations.

One more reason to look forward to the next G20 meeting in London in April...

*** UPDATE ***

It's been officially denied. Then again, it's been officially denied (at 4 m 50 s in...)

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