DSK's Likely Successor Is His Antithesis

Christine Lagarde would signal a new era at the IMF
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2011 11:30 AM CDT
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, center, is led from 71 Broadway where the former International Monetary Fund leader was staying following his release on bail, Wednesday, May 25, 2011, in New York.   (AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)
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(Newser) – If Dominique Strauss-Kahn presided over a testosterone-fueled, gray-suit clad world of international finance, then it is perhaps no small irony that it's poised to get a zebra-print breath of fresh air in the form of his likely successor. New York Times scribe Maureen Dowd writes a glowing profile of Christine Lagarde, France's finance minister and the would-be head of the IMF. The 5-foot-10 onetime national synchronized swimmer sees what Dowd calls "an Anita Hill moment" in her country: “I think there will be a pre-DSK and a post-DSK. And things that may have been tolerated or generally accepted as OK will no longer be," she says, adding that she hopes women get "some confidence and pride.”

Among French elites who perhaps prefer to wax poetic rather than act, Lagarde has not made friends: “Enough thinking, already!” she urged in 2007. “Roll up your sleeves.” She's sneeringly dubbed "L'Americaine" for the two decades she spent working in a Chicago law firm, but that blunt, no-nonsense attitude may be her saving grace should she land the IMF gig. "I know what it’s like to walk into a room where you are just by yourself, and everybody else is wearing dark suits, and you feel for a few seconds slightly intimidated and not always welcome.” But, she says, no would-be harrassers have bothered her: “They know that I could just punch them.”

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