ECB chief Draghi ‘not available’ to lead IMF

Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank. (AFP pic)

FRANKFURT AM MAIN: European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said Thursday he was “not available” to succeed Christine Lagarde as head of the International Monetary Fund.

Asked at a press conference if he might be the next managing director of the Washington-based IMF, Draghi said: “No for me, I don’t think so.”

He added that he was “very honoured” that his name should have come up as a possible candidate.

“But I am not available. So it’s not an issue,” said Draghi.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had said he would lead talks on finding a new candidate to succeed Lagarde, after she was tapped to take over from Draghi as new ECB chief.

The post of IMF managing director goes to a European by convention, and several names including Canada-born Bank of England governor Mark Carney, who has British and Irish nationality, and former finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem of the Netherlands have been floated.

Tapping Draghi, 71, for the post would necessitate changing the IMF bylaws which state that managing directors must be under 65 years of age when appointed and cannot serve “beyond [their] 70th birthday”.

For now, Draghi said he has “not come to a determination of what I’ll be doing in the future”.