“Gita is one of the world’s outstanding economists, with impeccable academic credentials, a proven track record of intellectual leadership, and extensive international experience,” Lagarde said.
“All this makes her exceptionally well-placed to lead our Research Department at this important juncture. I am delighted to name such a talented figure as our Chief Economist,” she said.
Gita, 46, will succeed Maurice (Maury) Obstfeld, who announced in July that he would retire at the end of 2018.
She currently serves as the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University.
A US citizen, she was born and grew up in India. She received her Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University in 2001 after earning a B.A. from the University of Delhi and M.A. degrees from both the Delhi School of Economics and University of Washington.
She joined the University of Chicago in 2001 as an Assistant Professor before moving to Harvard in 2005. She became a tenured Professor there in 2010.
She is co-editor of the American Economic Review and co-director of the International Finance and Macroeconomics Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). She is co-editor of the current Handbook of International Economics with Former IMF Economic Counsellor Kenneth Rogoff.
She has authored some 40 research articles on exchange rates, trade and investment, international financial crises, monetary policy, debt, and emerging market crises.