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Who is Michel Camdessus?

Updated May 23, 2024
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Michel Camdessus, born 1 May 1933, is a French economist who on 16 January 1987 became the seventh Managing Director and Chairman of the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). A position he held until 14 February 2000. Educated at the University of Paris, the Institute of Political Studies of Paris, and the National School of Administration, Mr Camdessus is a graduate of economics and is currently the president of Semaines Sociales de France and is also a member of the Commission for Africa, a body established by the ex-prime minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair.

Before serving as the Chairman of the IMF, Michel Camdessus worked his way through a series of high profile appointments in the French civil service and latterly the European Community (EC). Until he assumed the IMF presidency in 1987, he held the position of Governor of the Bank of France, a position he was appointed to in November 1984 after previously holding the office of Deputy Governor. The year before his appointment to the IMF chairmanship he was named Alternate Governor of the IMF for France.

Michel Camdessus began his career in the French Civil Service where he worked as Administrateur, or Administrator, before he moved to the Treasury in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Policies in the early 1960s. In 1971 he returned to the Treasury in the Ministry of Finance to take up the role of Assistant Director before being promoted in 1974 to the position of Deputy Director and then eventually to the directorship in 1982. During the period he worked in the Finance Ministry, Michel Camdessus also held the chairmanships of the Paris Club and the Monetary Committee of the European Community. The latter position he held until his assumption of the IMF chairmanship.

The period of Michel Camdessus’ tenure as Director of the IMF was remarkable for the number and diversity of world financial crises, the fall of international communism and the rise of globalization. He is said to have navigated the challenges of his position commendably and forged ahead with his reforms of the IMF. He is remembered for transforming the role of financial surveillance into a more transparent process and for his development of the internal procedures that gave the IMF a clearer perspective of world economic development.

Michel Camdessus is married to Brigitte d'Arcy with whom he has six children.

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