Christine Lagarde – President of the European Central Bank (ECB)

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Contributed by Katherine G. Karel

Many know of the Warren Buffets and Benjamin Grahams who have dominated the face of Wall Street. While their investment strategies are undoubtably successful, there are many more players on Wall Street whose contributions are reflective of the principles and strategies that Karel Capital embodies. Four of these thinkers include Christine Lagarde, John Rogers, Seth Klarmen, and Paula Volent. Over the next few months, we will highlight them respectively.

Christine Lagarde

A trained lawyer and French politician, Lagarde is a trailblazer in the realm of economics. She became the first female head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2011-2019. Following her successes, she was appointed to president of the European Central Bank (ECB) to lead and oversee the monetary policy.

Her monetary policy is oriented towards keeping prices and inflation at a low and stable rate for EU members. An admirable methodology for economic leadership. She quotes, “I’m neither a dove nor a hawk. My ambition is to be this owl.” Owls, she noted, are “associated with a little bit of wisdom.”[1] By governing the EU Bank wisely, she promotes a type of globalism that is vital to the future to the world economy.

 Lagarde has the unique ability to place current events in the context of history to provide foresight into present circumstances. She wrote in a letter to the next generation of macro-economic thinkers about the need for a new global economy. She harkened back to the meeting of Bretton Woods when delegates from over 40 countries joined to discuss the premises of world commerce in the wake of World War II. Their cooperation resulted in the implementation of the IMF and a commitment to help other countries, in turn helping themselves. While the IMF continues to provide monetary policy assistance with “wallet, brain, and heart,” Lagarde’s message in the letter is that the world faces similar turbulation to that of 1945. Following the global pandemic, the world must again enter an “Age of Ingenuity” that is built from courage in the present and understanding of the past.

Lagarde does not shy away from voicing her commitment to combatting environmental injustice, and its relation to financial markets. She quotes, “if you do not have a plan for the environment, you do not have a plan for the economy.”[2] By saying so, she looks beyond the current economic status quo in anticipation of the world’s next pressing challenge.

She also sees the need to unify in the present. Although stated 11 years ago when asked about the U.S. debt ceiling crisis, her prescient answer remains steadfast today. She hoped the U.S. would, “have enough bipartisan intelligence to not default on its debt.”[3]

              While Lagarde is not a money manager or investor, her governance of the ECB and way she advocates for multilateralism and bipartisanship to shape monetary policy and advance the world’s economy makes her a key thinker and actor.



[1] Horowitz, Julia. “ECB Chief Christine Lagarde: I Want to Be the Wise ‘owl’ of Monetary Policy | CNN Business.” CNN, 12 Dec. 2019

[2] “Christine Lagarde on the Future of Bretton Woods – F&D: The IMF at 75.” IMF, 1 June 2019

[3] ABC News, “Interview With Christine Lagarde,” YouTube, 10 July 2011


ECB chief Christine Lagarde: I want to be the wise ‘owl’ of monetary policy

Interview with Christine Lagarde 

Monetary policy in a new environment

Christine Lagarde fuels investor bets on ECB interest rate rises with hawkish shift | Financial Times

Christine Lagarde on the Future of Bretton Woods – F&D | The IMF at 75

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