When her public service leave of absence from Harvard University ends in January, IMF top economist Gita Gopinath will return to the university as planned, the IMF announced on Tuesday.
Gopinath, the IMF’s first female chief economist, joined the organization in October 2018 and is leading new analytical research on the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination targets, and climate change mitigation.
Gopinath’s “tremendous” impact on the IMF’s work, according to IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.
“Gita also won the respect and admiration of colleagues in the Research Department, across the Fund, and throughout the membership for leading analytically rigorous work and policy-relevant projects with high impact and influence,” Georgieva said in a statement.
Gopinath received plaudits for proposing a $50 billion plan to stop the pandemic by vaccinating at least 40% of the population in all nations by the end of 2021, a strategy that was eventually adopted by the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and the World Health Organization.
According to a source acquainted with the situation, Georgieva’s resignation from the global crisis lender has nothing to do with the ethics issue that has raised questions about her future as the IMF’s chairman.
Gopinath’s vacation from Harvard, which had already been extended by a year, was coming to an end, and her family had remained in Boston, according to the source. She will stay at the IMF to supervise the release of the fund’s next World Economic Outlook projections in January.
Last Monday, the IMF executive board exonerated Georgieva of any wrongdoing in connection with claims that, as World Bank CEO in 2017, she exerted undue pressure on bank staff to manipulate data in favor of China.
The Treasury Department of the United States continues to urge for improvements at the institutions in order to protect their integrity.
The IMF, according to Gopinath, takes data integrity “very seriously” and has robust processes in place, but is continually searching for ways to improve.