Christine Lagarde

Biography of Christine Lagarde French lawyer, economist and politician, she has held the position of President of the European Central Bank since November 2019.

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She is one of the most famous business lawyers in the world. She is considered a manager and negotiator with a global reputation. She is one of the most powerful women in the world economy.

Her innate intelligence and strict work and study discipline have led her to be the first woman to hold the position of Minister of Economy of France and the first director of the International Monetary Fund.

Christine Lagarde’s family and training

Christine Lagarde was born in Paris on January 1, 1956.

Her father, Robert Lallouette, was a professor of English at the University of Rouen (Normandy). He died when Christine was still a 16-year-old girl.

Her mother, Nicole Carré, was a teacher of Latin, Greek and literature. She educated her four children in a Catholic school.

At home and at school, spelling errors were reprimanded. And, elbows on the table, it was considered an unforgivable fault at mealtime.

Both parents belonged to a middle-class family, were teachers of classical letters, and lived in a relatively well-off Parisian district.

As her parents were language teachers, Christine was able to learn Latin, Greek, English and Spanish as a child, in addition to her native French.

When she was 15 years old, Christine Lagarde was part of the French Olympic team, synchronized swimming. She was runner-up in France in 1971.

By practicing this sport, she learned to give her best in group work. Her instructors taught her to “grit her teeth and smile” while doing her best to achieve exceptional results.

The truth is that the quote is not correct. What her coach said was, “Squeeze your ass and smile.”

Christine Lagarde graduated from the French Lyceum in Le Havre in 1974. She was already 18 years old and was ready to get ahead in life.

Le Havre
Le Havre is a city in northwestern France located on the estuary of the River Seine, on the banks of the English Channel. Credit: web de viaje por Francia.

Studies and works of Christine Lagarde in the USA

Christine Lagarde was sent by her mother to study law and business on a scholarship at an American women’s institution: the Holton Arms School in Maryland.

At that school, the female students were very involved in their learning process and were encouraged to develop self-confidence, self-esteem and a strong sense of competence.

The Holton School was an institution where the motto was frequently repeated to young women: “I will always find a way to do things; and if it doesn’t exist, I’ll create it myself ”.

While studying, Christine Lagarde became an assistant to a Republican senator in Washington.

Christine Lagarde university education

When she returned to France, Christine continued to study international law and trade, in Paris.

After graduating from the Faculty of Law of the University of Paris, she studied for a master’s degree in Political Science at the Institute of Political Studies, Aix-en-Provence.

Aix en Provence
Aix-en-Provence is a university town in the Provence region of the Côte d’Azur in southern France. Credit: Ladislaus Hoffner.

Christine Lagarde’s Family

Christine Lagarde has two children from her marriage to Wilfred Lagarde: Pierre-Henri Lagarde (born 1986) and Thomas Lagarde (born 1988).

Since 2006, after her divorce, Christine has rebuilt her life with Xavier Giocanti, an old love of youth and currently a businessman in Marseille.

As Christine said in an interview, Xavier Giocanti is in charge of balancing her GDP (Gross Internal Pleasure). Furthermore, Mr Giocanti shows absolute discretion. When he passes through Washington, he does so with hardly attending public events.

Christina Lagarde’s hobbies are yoga, diving, swimming, and gardening. As a good athlete and vegetarian, she never drinks alcohol.

Christine Lagarde gets up every day at 5:30 a.m. at her home in the West End neighborhood to go to the gym.

An elegant and distinguished woman, Christine Lagarde always dresses impeccably and stylishly.

Professional career of Christine Lagarde

For a brief period, she worked as an intern at the United States Capitol, exactly as an assistant to Congressman William Cohen.

In 1981, Christine Lagarde was 25 years old when she began working as a lawyer at Baker & McKenzie, a prestigious international law firm based in Chicago and specialized in international trade, in Paris and New York.

She handled major antitrust cases and labor cases. In just six years, she became a partner and was appointed Western European company director.

She joined the executive committee in 1995 and was elected president of the company in October 1999, the first woman to hold that position.

She combined her work at the Baker & McKenzie law firm with a consultancy at the “Center for Strategic and International Studies”, where she worked on relations between Europe and the United States.

Her personal interest in European affairs led her to open the “Center for European Law” in Brussels, a Baker & McKenzie office dedicated exclusively to the practice of European Union law.

Christine Lagarde is an open and natural woman. She is proud, but not arrogant. She has the merit of knowing how to listen.

Her advantage lies not so much in her technical competence as in her political and diplomatic qualities, in her ability to embody an institution.

Ministerial career of Christine Lagarde

When Jacques Chirac proposed her to be Minister of Foreign Trade in 2005, Christine Lagarde was already an international lawyer with a transatlantic reputation.

During the Dominique de Villepin government (2005 to 2007), Christine Lagarde served as Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Minister of Commerce and Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry.

As French Trade Minister, Christine Lagarde prioritized opening new markets for French products, focusing on the technology sector.

On May 18, 2007, she was transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture as part of the François Fillon government (2007 to 2012).

The following month, François Fillon appointed her Minister of Economy, Industry and Employment. She was the first woman in charge of economic policy in France.

During the great financial crisis of 2008, she earned an exceptional reputation. She was rated by the Financial Times as the best economy minister in the euro zone and one of the most influential women in the world

Christine Lagarde Managing Director of the IMF

In May 2011, as Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s term as IMF Managing Director was about to expire, Christine Lagarde was mentioned as a possible successor.

Her candidacy was supported by the governments of the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, Germany and India. All of them recognized her experience, her ability to work, her perfect command of English and internationally recognized competence and her perfect command of English.

On June 28, 2011, Christine Lagarde was elected CEO of the International Monetary Fund, despite not being an economist and having no banking experience.

She was the first woman to preside over the IMF and did so from July 5, 2011 to July 16, 2019.

Her appointment came amid the intense European sovereign debt crisis, especially in Greece, with fears of impending defaults.

Christine Lagarde’s main mission was to adapt the economies of countries in crisis to the rigorous policies of the IMF, especially with regard to public spending.

IMF policy is a bitter pill for the whole of Western society; it is almost never well received by citizens, who are already used to the welfare state

At the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde favored a reform that particularly favored emerging countries.

Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde leaves the IMF and goes to the ECB. Credit: Argentine newspaper Los Andes

Her strong personality, which combines polite ways with a frankness that can be hurtful, has not ceased to create controversy.

Christina Lagarde has had a reserved seat at the great world summits of the G7 and G20.

During her years in office, she has been in charge of promoting international monetary cooperation, ensuring exchange rate stability in the markets, and helping to correct balance of payments imbalances.

In Europe alone, the IMF put more than 100,000 million euros on the table in the financial bailouts of Greece, Ireland and Portugal

These three countries had to carry out drastic adjustment programs through the traumatic path of social cuts and lower incomes.

The voice of Christine Lagarde was among the most pressing in 2015 during the stormy negotiations with the government of Athens, when the third financial rescue.

Christina Lagarde President of the European Central Bank

On July 2, 2019, Christine Lagarde was nominated by the European Council to succeed Mario Draghi as President of the European Central Bank.

On September 17, 2019, the European Parliament by secret vote agreed to recommend her in office, with 394 in favor, 206 against and 49 abstentions.

The European Council confirmed her appointment, in October 2019. Christine Lagarde is the first woman to serve as President of the European Central Bank.

Before being appointed president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde had never been in charge of any bank, private or public.

However, she is a globally reputed manager and negotiator. She is not a newcomer to the highly contentious terrain of euro zone monetary management.

For a long time, she has been actively involved, in delicate political and monetary negotiations, in Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Washington.

Her main merit is that she has more political sensitivity than any banker in any state.

Christine Lagarde film appearance

Christine Lagarde was interviewed for the documentary “Inside Job” in 2010. Later, “Inside Job” won the Oscar for Best Documentary.

Click here if you want to see this biography in Spanish translation

In 2011, actress Laila Robins played Christine Lagarde in the HBO movie “Too big to fail”. Christine’s character acts as France’s finance minister.

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