Leading article: This decision should not be made in haste

Share
Related Topics

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation in which Dominique Strauss-Kahn currently finds himself, the US Treasury Secretary was clearly right to say he was "not in a position to run the IMF". Adding his voice to that of European officials who have hinted broadly that Mr Strauss-Kahn should step down, Timothy Geithner said directly that the IMF's executive board should designate an interim head.

In the short term, that might well be the optimum solution. It is understandable that Mr Strauss-Kahn would be reluctant to resign, not least because of how this might be interpreted. Yet the IMF cannot afford to be leaderless, especially not at present, with the global recovery still fragile and the woes of the eurozone far from over. Mr Strauss-Kahn's absence from meetings in Europe earlier this week was keenly felt. His are big shoes to fill. But the IMF has a job to do that cannot wait on the slow-turning wheels of the US judicial process.

Like any major international organisation, it is not well equipped to deal speedily with its own internal emergencies, even if solving those of others is part of its remit. And it is unfortunate that the sudden vacuum at the top comes amid mounting pressure for the IMF to appoint its first non-European managing director. Mr Strauss-Kahn's difficulties thus pose not just one question – who should take over – but whether a long-standing convention is abandoned.

At least there is no lack of candidates; aspiring IMF heads are already jockeying for position, including at least one from Turkey. France's finance minister, Christine Lagarde, would be an obvious choice but for the number of French citizens who have occupied the post. And David Cameron was quite wrong to dismiss Gordon Brown's prospects when he did.

Two imperatives work against each other here. While there is a strong argument for settling the succession fast, ending the European hold on the job is not something that should be done precipitately, and certainly not when the tribulations of the eurozone loom so large on the IMF's agenda. An interim appointment should leave that discussion open.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Designer / Design Director

£38000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B content marketing agen...

Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The only choice in schools is between the one you want and the ones you don’t

Jane Merrick
 

Start a family – you’ll never have to go out again

John Mullin
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn