In October, IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva had announced that Gopinath, the fund’s first female chief economist and director of the research department, intends to leave in January 2022 and return to Harvard University’s economics department when her public service leave ends. Harvard University had extended Gopinath’s leave of absence on an exceptional basis by one year, which allowed her to serve as chief economist at the IMF for three years.
“Especially, given that pandemic has led to an increase in scale and scope of macroeconomic challenges facing our member countries, I believe that Gita — universally recognised as one of the world’s leading macroeconomists — has precisely the expertise that we need for the FDMD role at this point,” Georgieva said, while announcing her appointment.
“Indeed, her particular skill set — combined with her years of experience at the fund as chief economist —make her uniquely well qualified. She is the right person at the right time,” said Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist.
Georgieva said under Gopinath’s leadership, IMF’s research department had gone from “strength to strength,” particularly highlighting its contributions in multilateral surveillance through The World Economic Outlook, a new analytical approach to help countries respond to international capital flows, and her recent work on a Pandemic Plan to end the Covid-19 crisis by setting targets to vaccinate the world at feasible cost.
Gopinath said she was honoured and humbled to become IMF’s next FDMD.
“As the pandemic continues its grip on us, work of the fund has never been more critical and international cooperation never more important. I am very thankful to Kristalina and the board for this opportunity, and so look forward to collaborating closely with all the incredibly brilliant and committed colleagues at the fund, working with whom has been an absolute privilege,” said Gopinath.
Gopinath did her BA (Hons) in economics from Delhi’s Lady Shriram College and then MA from Delhi School of Economics and the University of Washington.
A US national and overseas citizen of India, Gopinath’s research has been published in many top economics journals. Prior to her appointment as IMF chief economist, she was the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics, in the economics department of Harvard.