France’s finance minister, Christine Lagarde, is the new managing general of the International Monetary Fund after winning the late support of the US and Russia.
The IMF’s executive board officially voted overwhelmingly for her over Mexico central banker Agustín Carstens at a meeting in Washington DC.
Ms Lagarde already had the support of Europe, China and Brazil, giving her the clear majority from the 24 countries sitting on the board.
The appointment ends a five-week selection process to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned last month after being indicted on sexual assault charges for an incident in New York hotel.
She will be the first woman in the role and the 11th consecutive European. She was considered a certainty for the job because of an unwritten agreement between the US and Europe on appointment of top positions at the IMF and World Bank.
Ms Lagarde, who is already playing a critical role in negotiating financing for Europe's sovereign-debt bailouts, will now be heading the world’s leading economic organisation at a critical time for the global financial system.
Despite her lack of formal economic qualifications (she is a lawyer), Ms Largarde’s political skills could prove invaluable in managing the Europe's sovereign-debt crisis, pushing forward the Group of 20's economic agenda of re-balancing the global economy, and overseeing governance restructuring at the IMF that gives developing countries more power.