A blazing row about governance at the IMF is clouding Rodrigo
de Ratos departure as managing director. De Rato
who suddenly announced his departure from the Fund in June, and
leaves on October 31 has come under fire, on the
executive board and from the IMF staff association, for his
role in a controversial staffing decision. The dispute,
detailed in internal Fund correspondence seen by Emerging
, concerned the transfer of a young Spanish
economist to a senior position in the Monetary and Capital
Markets (MCM) department.
The economist, who came to the Fund in 2004 after three years
in the Spanish civil service, will join the MCM department on
November 1 as an adviser. He moves from a similar position in
the managing directors office, on an existing fixed-term
contract that expires in two years time. Staff were
incensed that many senior economists with decades of experience
were effectively passed over by de Rato. Anger was exacerbated
by the fact that the MCM department just underwent a
painful restructuring that led to the involuntary departure of
several highly qualified and experienced B-level staff, a
staff association email pointed out.
The executive board discussed the transfer on October 3. Abbas
Mirakhor, dean of the board, wrote to other directors, arguing
that the economists transfer could erode staff confidence
in rules governing appointments. Staff morale, already at
its lowest ebb seen in the past quarter century of my service
at the IMF, would be further undermined, he warned.
Mirakhors letter said he knew of no precedent
for the economists treatment.
The board concluded that the Funds human resources
policies and practices had been followed in the
case but board members also urged that processes be
strengthened and employment procedures be reviewed, de Rato
said in an email to all Fund staff. The IMF Staff Association
Committee responded in its own circular email, saying it wished
more thought had been given to perception and
The Committee added pointedly: following all the rules is
sometimes not enough. The transfer process was
perceived by many as skirting a rules-based system and
exposing the Fund to reputational risk. Bernhard
Fritz-Krockow, staff association chairman, told Emerging
it was unprecedented for the committee to comment
on an individual case but there had been a failure of
communication, and morale was affected.
Fritz-Krockow emphasised that staff had no personal quarrel
with the individual who had been transferred.
An IMF spokesman declined to comment on staff morale. He said
the economist had been transferred on his existing contract, at
his existing grade and salary. There had been initial
confusion and ambiguity about the transfer, which had
been addressed in de Ratos email.