French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has been chosen to head the International Monetary Fund.
The 24-member IMF Executive board made the decision Tuesday in Washington.
The top IMF post is vacant because former Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned after being arrested in New York on charges of sexual assault. He denies the allegations.
The IMF gives loans and technical advice to countries with economic problems, and has been playing a role in bailing out Greece.
Under a decades-old informal agreement, the head of the IMF has always been a European, while the top post at the World Bank has gone to an American. Leaders of some emerging major economies have called this tradition “outdated” as Brazil, Russia, India, China and other nations play a large and growing role in the global economy.