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Christine Lagarde: The rise of a global banking boss

Published 1159 GMT (1959 HKT) January 13, 2015
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Born in 1956 in Paris, France, Christine Lagarde's rise through the world of finance has seen her move from national to international leadership, resulting in her now managing the global economy at a time of crisis.

After graduating from Paris West University Nanterre La Défense, formerly known as Paris X Nanterre, and completing a Master's degree at the Institute of Political Studies in Aix en Provence, she joined international law firm Baker & McKenzie in 1981.
By Phoebe Parke, for CNN
Courtesy JEAN-PIERRE MULLER/AFP/Getty Images
In June 2005, Lagarde joined the French government as Minister for Foreign Trade under French President Jacques Chirac.
She is seen here with French Minister of Economy Thierry Breton (R) arriving at a press conference in Paris, France.
In 2007, the mother of two became Finance and Economy Minister for France, making her the first woman to adopt this position in a G7 country.

In this picture she stands with her fellow G7 finance ministers in Washington DC.

From left to right: James Flaherty of Canada, Christine Lagarde of France, Peer Steinbruck of Germany, Henry Paulson of the United States, Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa of Italy, Fukushiro Nukaga of Japan, Alistair Darling of the United Kingdom, and Jean-Claude Juncker of the Eurogroup.
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From July to December 2008, Lagarde also chaired the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN).

The council brings together all the finance ministers of the EU's member-states to discuss areas such as economic policy coordination, financial markets and economic relations with third world countries.
Courtesy ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images
Lagarde was named the best Minister of Finance in the Eurozone in 2009, by the Financial Times.

Here she sits with Patrick Devedjian, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and French Prime Minister Francois Fillon to meet with French businessmen at the Elysee Palace in Paris in 2009.
Courtesy MICHEL EULER/AFP/Getty Images
In June 2011 Lagarde was appointed as the 11th Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, following previous Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned due to scandal.
She is the first woman to hold the position and adopted the role at a time of global economic crisis.
Courtesy Stephen Jaffe/IMF via Getty Images
In April 2012, Lagarde was named an officer in the Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur. The Order is the highest decoration in France and is divided into five degrees of which officer is the fourth.

Here, Lagarde watches school girls in the computer room at Toutes a l'Ecole school in Kandal province, Cambodia. The school was visited as part of a three country trip to Asia in December 2013.
Courtesy Stephen Jaffe/IMF Photograph via Getty Images
During a visit to Myanmar, Asia in 2013, Lagarde met with Vice President Nyan Tun, Finance Minister Win Shein and Central Bank Governor Kyaw Kyaw Maung and politician Aung San Suu Kyi.

"The IMF will continue to stand with Myanmar through policy advice," said Lagarde on the last day of her visit. "And through enhanced technical assistance and training, to help the people of Myanmar strengthen their capacity and build the strong institutions needed to sustain a vibrant economy in the years to come."

She also stressed the significant macroeconomic benefits that can result from greater participation of women in the economy, including in Myanmar.

Lagarde shows off a Myanmar water polo jacket as she watches Myanmar against Thailand in water polo at the 27th Annual SEA Games in December 2013 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
"Peru continues to be one of the most vibrant economies in the world," said Lagarde during a visit to the country in 2014.
"I experienced firsthand how vital grassroots economy has become and the increasingly important role women play as agents of change. I also had the opportunity to discuss education, sustainability, job creation and gender equality in my meetings with youth entrepreneurs and women leaders."

Here Lagarde is pictured with Peru's First Lady Nadine Heredia picking vegetables while touring the community of Ayacucho, southeast of Lima in December 2014.
In 2014, Lagarde was ranked the 5th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine.

"I'm the managing director of the International Monetary Fund.," she recently told CNN. "I don't want to let my female colleagues around the globe down."

However, in August 2014 she was placed under formal investigation in France for her alleged involvement in a long-running fraud case. When asked by CNN about how she copes with the allegation she replied: "With strength, with my sense of duty to my country, with the certainty that I made the right choice at the time independently and the rest is dealt with now by the lawyers... so I don't focus on the issue anymore."
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