Christine Lagarde is a French lawyer and politician currently serving as the President of the European Central Bank. She is one of the highest ranked women in business, the third most influential woman in the world according to Forbes and a role model for any woman in the business world.
Christine Lagarde started her career with a degree from the French Nanterre La Défense University with degrees in English, Labor Law, and Social Law. In 1981, she joins ‘Backer & Mackenzie’, a large Chicago-based international law firm.
After 20 years as a lawyer, Lagarde joins the French politics in 2005 and becomes Trade Minister. She is then promoted to the role of Agricultural Minister. In 2007, she becomes France Finance Minister and the first woman to hold a Finance Minister role in a G8 country. She held this role during the global financial crisis and played a key role in the organization of the emergency EU bailout fund for banks.
Her time at the IMF
On June 2011, after 6 years on the fore front of the French politics, Christine Lagarde is elected Managing Director and Chairman of the International Monetary Fund for five year. She becomes the first woman to be elected head of the IMF.
While her time at the IMF, Lagarde suggested central banks should consider issuing digital currencies in the future for the benefits it offers, like financial inclusion. The IMF became more vocal about climate change under her lead.
Today: her role as the ECB president
In November 2019, she is appointed President of the European Central Bank.
She makes climate change the subject of one of her main battles. Christine Lagarde is pushing for climate change to be part of a strategic review of the European Central Bank’s purpose. Her plan underlines her goal as president to make climate change a “mission-critical” priority for the central bank.
Over the course of her career, Lagarde, who says that she faced sexism and discrimination in her professional life, has been an advocate for gender inclusion and quotas for women in business. Interestingly, she has always insisted on holding the title “chairman” instead of “chairperson” or “chairwoman.” She says, “insisting on marking femininity by the gender of words is ridiculous.”