IMF chief names Chinese banker as his special advisor

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The International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn Wednesday named Zhu Min, deputy governor of China's central bank, as his special advisor, in a move Strauss- Kahn said would strengthen relations between the IMF and emerging economies.

Zhu Min, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, speaks during a session on the Global Economic Outlook at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Saturday Jan. 30, 2010. [CFP]

"Mr. Zhu Min brings a wealth of experience in government and the financial sector, and I look forward to his counsel," Strauss- Kahn said in a statement. "As special advisor, he will play an important role in working with me and my management team in meeting the challenges facing our global membership in the period ahead, and in strengthening the Fund's understanding of Asia and emerging markets more generally."

Zhu thus became the second Chinese to take on a senior management position in a top international financial organization after Justin Yifu Lin, who was appointed vice president and chief economist of the World Bank in 2008.

Zhu, who will likely take up his position in early May, thanked the IMF for the invitation.

In a statement, Zhu said that he will do his best to integrate the experience from emerging market economies and Asia into the IMF, and that he is ready to work with his colleagues at the IMF to promote sustainable growth and financial stability on the global level.

Meanwhile, in Beijing, the People's Bank of China (PBC), China's central bank, also welcomed the IMF's choice.

With emerging market and developing countries playing an increasing role in the global economy and financial system, it is a good move for the international financial institutions to include more professionals from those economies in their management to reflect the changes in the world economic landscape, and to improve their governance, said the PBC.

As deputy governor of the PBC, Zhu is responsible for international affairs, policy research, and credit information.

Prior to his service at China's central bank, he held various positions at the Bank of China where he served as group executive vice president, responsible for finance and treasury, risk management, internal control, legal and compliance, and strategy and research.

Zhu also worked at the World Bank for six years, and taught economics at both Johns Hopkins University and Fudan University.

He received a Ph.D and an M.A. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and a B.A. in economics from Fudan University. He has published extensively on a wide range of international economic and financial issues. He is a guest lecturer at several university graduate schools, and a frequent speaker at major global economic fora.

"His unique experience brings him a deep knowledge in macroeconomic management, financial regulation and supervision, and financial markets. His service at the World Bank and other international financial institutions also adds to his rich experience in the field of international finance," said the PBC in a statement.

After the financial crisis, China is expected to play more important role in the international community and the IMF also stated that the organization called on giving more votes to China.

"This is a very significant appointment," said Eswar Prasad, a former IMF official who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a leading U.S. think tank based in Washington, D.C.

"China has been shut out of influential positions in the IMF, and IMF management has been trying to find an appropriate slot. Parachuting him into a high-level position is a way of getting around that," Prasad said.


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