IMF’s first woman Chief Economist, Gita Gopinath to leave her position in January

Gita Gopinath on her appointment to the organisation in 2019 had become the first woman in history to hold the position of chief economist at the IMF. 

Gita Gopinath, the chief economist for the International Monetary Fund, is gearing up to leave her position in the organisation in January to return to Harvard University where she taught as a professor prior to joining IMF. 

Gopinath first joined the IMF as the chief economist in January 2019 and was working as the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University at the time. She had held that position at Harvard since 2015. She was only the third woman in history to become a tenured professor in the economics department at Harvard University. 

Kristalina Georgieva, IMF’s Managing Director, announced on Tuesday, October 19, they the organisation will begin looking for candidates to fill Gopinath’s position shorty. 

Disclosing the news of Gopinath’s departure, Kristalina Georgieva commended the contributions made by the Indian-American economist to the organisations during her short tenure, calling it remarkable and stated that Gopinath’s impact on the IMF’s work has been tremendous. 

Gita Gopinath on her appointment to the organisation in 2019 had become the first woman in history to hold the position of chief economist at the IMF. 

Georgieva stated that the organisation was greatly benefited by her “sharp intellect and deep knowledge on international finance and macroeconomics” as the IMF traversed through one of the worst economic crises in history. 

She further acknowledged some of the most prominent initiatives taken by Gopinath during her time at the IMF, mentioning the ‘Pandemic Paper,’ which Gopinath co-authored. The premise of the paper laid down a framework to end the COVID-19 pandemic by setting feasible vaccination targets for the world. 

Her work in the ‘Pandemic Paper’ then became the basis for the creation of the Multilateral Task Force which comprised the leadership of the IMF, the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation and the World Health Organisation. The task force worked to curb the pandemic and aid the accelerated delivery of vaccines to low and lower-middle-income countries. 

Gita Gopinath had also introduced a climate change team inside the IMF to analyse and formulate favourable climate mitigation policies as part of the global action against climate change. 

“I would like to express my personal appreciation to Gita for her impressive contributions, her always wise counsel, her devotion for the mission of the Research Department and the Fund more broadly, as well as her widely recognised inclusive and accessible approach to colleagues and staff,” Georgieva said in the statement.

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