Christine Lagarde

time 100 2016 Christine Lagarde
Ben Hassett for TIME

Guardian of the global economy

No organization is more crucial to the stability of the global economy than the International Monetary Fund. Its decisions affect billions of people, so the person who heads the IMF must be an outstanding, effective leader.

Christine Lagarde meets this high standard. She has ably led the IMF through a tumultuous era for the world economy since she was chosen in 2011 by the more than 100 nations that govern the organization.

Christine is a trailblazer, the first woman to lead a major international organization like the IMF and, as Finance Minister of her native France, the first woman to hold this key role in any large advanced economy.

The IMF lends to member governments with the goal of minimizing the long-term damage of financial crises and preventing them from spreading. Christine was central to the effort to stabilize Greece’s economy and prevent a wider crisis in Europe. She has spurred economic reform in emerging nations like China that have appropriately gained more of a voice at the IMF. She has also given the IMF a more human face by addressing issues like gender and income inequality and public-health threats like the Ebola virus.

Christine is enormously impressive—a charismatic leader, respected worldwide. She is also a good friend and fun to be around—witty and refreshingly direct, whether we’re sharing a stage or a private meal.

Yellen is the U.S. Federal Reserve Board chair
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