21 April 2011

The IMF leadership renewal process: hypocrisy trumps democracy

It would have been so good if David Cameron, when commenting on Gordon Brown's suitability for the position of Managing Director of the IMF on the BBC, had said "whoever is best qualified to get the IMF job should have it, regardless of nationality".

Instead he said he thought Gordon Brown was not the most competent and that the leadership should probably rest with the emerging nations. He is entitled to these opinions of course, but should he really be airing them in public at this time?

The UK Prime Minister is not alone in this stance--this political approach (e.g. which "country" gets it, a political interpretation of past performance etc.) is the norm. Despite all the talk about transparency, accountability, evidence and results based management, smoke filled rooms still hold sway when it comes to appointing people to these jobs.

Of course these posts are highly political, but all top posts--public and private--are. And in this job, more than most, the consequences of incompetence are wide ranging and signifcant: finance is a confidence game and livelihoods are at stake.

So, please Mr Cameron, next time you are interviewed on the BBC say "each IMF member should be allowed to nominate one candidate for the leadership position--not necessarily from their own country. A short list should be drawn up in relation to publicly posted job and person descriptions. The short listed candidates should have the opportunity to say what they intend to do and why they are the best candidate--backed up by evidence. That presentation should be available on YouTube for all to see. Citizens of the world should then be able to pressure their member governments for their preferred candidates."

The decisions of the MD of the IMF affect all of us--just ask those who have lost their jobs in the last 2 years.

We should all have a say in who the next IMF MD should be, and that should be based on evidence, not influence.


Awuor Ponge said...

I hope Mr. Cameron is still not suffering from the hangovers of the 2010 Elections. If he hated Brown thus, he should not try to use his position to influence whether Brown gets the top job at IMF or not. On claims of incompetency on the part of Gordon Brown, I leave it to the Brits to decide. You may not be an effective political manager, but can be very effective when it comes to managing finances...no wonder we always talk of team players...and true Gordon was a team player...at least with the Milliband Brothers at his backing. Just hoping that by giving Gordy the job, he will not be more of a threat to the weak coalition.

Anonymous said...

There is little doubt across the full UK political spectrum that Gordon Brown getting any senior international financial position, let alone that within the IMF, would be a travesty.
Any major financial institution employing him, especially the IMF or WB, will inevetably lose instant credibility.

Lawrence Haddad said...

dear anonymous...agree with you if that conclusion reached through a rigorous fair process vis a vis other candidates...that is my point...I have no idea if Gordon Brown would be any better or worse than the other candidates being bandied about..

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Carissa N. Nixon said...

Leaders provide the best example. In this scenario, leadership are not should be emulated as they place more importance in partizan politics over the good of the nation. How can we progress under such stable?