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November 7, 2011 1:50 PM

Former Baker Chair Lagarde Ranked In Forbes Global Power List

Posted by Chris Johnson

Former Baker & McKenzie chair Christine Lagarde is the world's thirty-ninth most powerful person, according to a Forbes list.

Lagarde, who led Baker as its first female chair from 1999 to 2004, is now managing director of the International Monetary Fund, where she is a leading figure charting the monetary policy of the world's largest economies. 

"The first woman to run the IMF inherits an institution in crisis, overseeing multibillion-euro bailouts of Greece, Ireland, and Portugal," Forbes says of Lagarde. She managed to win support for her "controversial and unpopular" call for the mandatory recapitalization of European banks, which after being initially opposed was embraced two months later, the magazine notes.

Lagarde is ranked ahead of former President Bill Clinton, the Dalai Lama, and the CEOs of Amazon, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan. She is listed as the ninth most powerful woman, and is the highest-placed newcomer on the 2011 list.

Since leaving Baker, Lagarde held a number of senior positions in the French government, most recently as the country's minister of economic affairs, finances, and Industry, making her the first woman finance minister of a G8 economy. In 2004, she was awarded France's highest decoration, the Legion d'Honneur, by then-president Jacques Chirac.

Lagarde took the reins at the IMF in June after predecessor Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned amid accusations that he sexually assaulted a hotel maid. (Strauss-Khan, was thirty-seventh on last year's list but was not ranked this year.)

The 2011 list is topped by U.S. president Barack Obama, Russian prime minster Vladimir Putin, and Chinese president Hu Jintao.

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