WASHINGTON, Oct 19 (Reuters) - International Monetary Fund
chief economist Gita Gopinath will return to Harvard University
in January as planned when her public service leave of absence
from the university ends, the IMF said on Tuesday.
Gopinath, the IMF's first female chief economist, joined the
fund in October 2018 and led new IMF analytical research on the
COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination targets as well as on climate
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva cited Gopinath's
"tremendous" impact on the IMF's work.
"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 won praise for drafting a $50 billion proposal on
ending the pandemic https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/imf-says-ending-covid-19-pandemic-possible-cost-some-50-billion-2021-05-21
by vaccinating at least 40% of the population in all countries
by the end of 2021, a plan later endorsed by the World Bank, the
World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization.
Her departure from the global crisis lender is unrelated to
the ethics scandal that had raised questions about Georgieva's
future as the IMF's leader, according to a person familiar with
Gopinath's leave from Harvard, already extended by one year,
was ending, and her family had remained in Boston, the person
said. She will remain at the IMF to oversee the release of the
fund's next World Economic Outlook forecasts in January.
The IMF executive board last week cleared Georgieva of any
wrongdoing related to allegations https://thedocs.worldbank.org/en/doc/84a922cc9273b7b120d49ad3b9e9d3f9-0090012021/original/DB-Investigation-Findings-and-Report-to-the-Board-of-Executive-Directors-September-15-2021.pdf
that in 2017, as the World Bank's chief executive, she put
undue pressure on bank staff to alter data to favor China.
The U.S. Treasury Department continues press for changes https://www.reuters.com/business/us-treasury-will-hold-imf-chief-accountable-integrity-changes-official-2021-10-19
at the institutions to safeguard their integrity.
Gopinath told a news conference https://www.reuters.com/article/imf-worldbank-ethics/imf-takes-data-integrity-incredibly-seriously-chief-economist-gopinath-idUSW1N2LK03C
last week that the IMF takes data integrity "incredibly
seriously" and has robust systems in place but is always looking
for ways to improve.
(Reporting by David Lawder; editing by Jonathan Oatis and