(Reuters) – Olli Rehn, the head of the Finnish central bank who served for a decade as a European commissioner, is entering the race for the post of chief of International Monetary Fund vacated by Christine Lagarde, a newspaper reported on Friday.
“I have been asked to run for the IMF chief position. After considering this, I have answered I am ready to be nominated. It is a challenging, but really interesting and motivating task,” the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper quoted Rehn as saying.
Representatives of Rehn were not immediately available for comment.
The Nordic and Baltic countries will back Rehn’s nomination, the newspaper said, quoting unnamed officials.
Lagarde, who has been named to lead the European Central Bank, has resigned from the IMF effective Sept 12.
Since its creation at the end of World War Two, the IMF has always been led by a European, while the president of its sister institution, the World Bank, has always been a U.S. citizen. The “duopoly” is expected to continue after U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee, David Malpass, was approved in April to lead the World Bank with European support.
(Reporting by Tarmo Virki in Tallinn; Editing by Peter Graff)