Professor Nicholas Stern, the Chair of the Grantham Research Institute, who served as Chief Economist and Senior Vice President at the World Bank from 2000-2003, has sent a letter to the Dean of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Board Aleksei Mozhin in support of managing director Kristalina Georgieva.
The letter comes only two days after Georgieva released her own statement on Friday, denying any wrongdoing, after the findings of an independent probe concluded that she helped boost China’s global ranking in a 2018 world economies report while she was World Bank head.
The future of Georgieva has been uncertain since an investigation into manipulation of an annual World Bank report found that the bank’s former chief executive directed staff to inflate China data. More specifically, Georgieva was called out by her previous employer, the World Bank, for allegedly applying pressure on staff to alter data to boost China’s position in a ranking economies.
The World Bank said in a review released in December that China’s position in the 2018 report (ease of doing business report), which was released in October 2017, should have been at number 85, seven places lower than number 78 which is where China ended up featuring.
But in her statement on Friday, Georgieva denied any wrongdoing, saying she remained professional and that the conclusions of the report are “wrong.”
“Out of respect for due process, I have refrained from addressing many of the questions that have been raised about the 2018 Doing Business report at the World Bank and will continue to do so until I meet with the board of directors at the International Monetary Fund. It is important, however, to at least elaborate for the public and for the sake of the staff of the IMF why I disagree with the investigative report’s conclusions with respect to my role in the Doing Business 2018 report,” the Bulgarian economist wrote in a statement,” she wrote. “Let me be clear: the conclusions are wrong. I did not pressure anyone to alter any reports. There was absolutely no quid pro quo related to funding for the World Bank of any kind. Reviewing the integrity of these reports was within my professional responsibilities at that time, and, unlike what has been reported, I followed all protocols for editing the report. The methodology used in the Doing Business report has been the subject of concerns over many years. Like others in the World Bank before and since, I fundamentally viewed my role as overseeing the protection of the integrity of the report’s methodology, not its technical implementation.”
In his letter on Sunday, Lord Stern outlined why he has full confidence in Kristalina Georgieva and in her continued leadership over the coming crucial years.
Stern made four points and called on the IMF Board to have full confidence in Georgieva and keep her on the job.
The letter can be found below