As the first female head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde is one of the most powerful women in the world. As well as being an accomplished lawyer, Lagarde has served on the French government, becoming the first female Finance and Economy Minister of a G7 country. Her legal background – most notably her experience at Baker and McKenzie, where she specialised in anti-trust law and mergers and acquisitions – has informed the trajectory of her career invaluably.
Christine was educated in Le Havre and later in Maryland, where she gained a scholarship to the Holton-Arms School and had her first taste of the political world, interning for US Senator William Cohen. She went on to receive a Law degree from Paris West University Nanterre La Défense, as well as a Master’s degree from the Political Science Institute in Aix en Provence.
Her dual passion for politics and law, cultivated in her education, developed into a remarkable and successful career. Her ascendance up the Baker and McKenzie ranks was rapid, becoming the first woman ever to run the firm, at the age of 43. She moved seamlessly and successfully into the world of politics, becoming the French Minister for Foreign Trade in 2005, before taking up the position of Finance and Economy Minister. Her time in the French government is generally deemed to have been extremely successful, and under her stewardship the country’s export levels were boosted to their highest level. It is testament to her skill and dedication that in guiding France’s economy through the financial crisis, her reputation remained intact – one of only a few Finance Ministers with this accolade to their name. Her appointment as Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund was greeted with enthusiasm, and she continues to navigate her way through difficult financial times with the poise, elegance and professionalism that has become synonymous with her name.