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Thu 4 Jul 2019 11:15 AM

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Who is Mohamed El-Erian, the Egyptian-American tipped to be the new IMF boss?

Mohamed El-Erian is one of the men in the running to replace Christine Lagarde, who has been nominated as the next president of the European Central Bank

Who is Mohamed El-Erian, the Egyptian-American tipped to be the new IMF boss?
Mohamed A. El-Erian photographed at the World Economic Forum Summit in 2008 in Dubai.

The announcement on Tuesday that Christine Lagarde has been nominated as the next president of the European Central Bank (ECB) has opened up speculation as to who may succeed her as the next managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with a prominent Egyptian-American economist one of the names being touted.

Lagarde said she was “honoured” to receive the nomination and the IMF said First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton would take over her duties during the ECB nomination process.

The 63 year-old Frenchwoman was due to remain as head of the IMF until the end of her second term in July 2021. If approved, she will take over from current ECB president Mario Draghi on October 31.

Speculation as to her potential successor at the IMF has already begun. Reuters said the names in the running include Bank of Finland Governor Olli Rehn, French central bank chief Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Germany’s Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann and French ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure.

The New York Times said the shortlist also includes departing governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, Singaporean politician and economist Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Mexico’s Agustín Carstens and Egyptian-American economist Mohamed El-Erian.

So who is Mohamed El-Erian?

Based in California, El-Erian is the chief economic advisor at German global financial services firm Allianz. 

Born in New York City to an Egyptian father and a French mother, El-Erian spent his early childhood in Egypt and from 1971 to 1973 his father served as the Egyptian Ambassador to France.

Between 2007 and 2014 he was CEO of the Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) and from 2012 to 2017 he served on President Barack Obama’s Global Development Council.

He first joined PIMCO in 1999 as head of emerging markets portfolio management. He re-joined the firm at the end of 2007, having served two years as president and CEO of Harvard Management Company, the entity that manages Harvard’s endowment. 

He already has strong links to the IMF as from 1983 to 1997 he worked at the fund's offices in Washington, D.C. where he rose to the level of deputy director.

In May, he was named as the new president of Queens’ College, a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

He previously studied economics at Queens’ in the 1970s and graduated with a first class honours degree.

For four years in a row he has been named by Foreign Policy magazine on its list of ‘top 100 global thinkers’.

He regularly appears in the media, including Reuters and CNBC and he is a columnist at Bloomberg and a contributing editor to the Financial Times.