CORRECTED-Liberian former IMF official named as deputy managing director

(Corrects headline and text to show that Sayeh will not replace Lipton in IMF No. 2 job)

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON, Feb 25 (Reuters) – International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on Tuesday nominated former IMF official Antoinette Sayeh to become a deputy managing director at the Fund.

Sayeh, a Liberian national, was director of the IMF’s African Department between 2008 and 2016. She since has been at the Center for Global Development think tank in Washington, and previously served as Liberia’s finance minister and spent 17 years at the World Bank.

Georgieva’s move to appoint her, which is subject to approval by the IMF board, comes after Geoffrey Okamoto, a 35-year-old U.S. Treasury acting assistant secretary had emerged as a leading candidate to replace David Lipton as the Fund’s first deputy managing director, backed by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Lipton will leave the IMF at the end of February after serving nearly nine years as the Fund’s No. 2 official, a role that has a strong influence over the organization’s policies.

The IMF’s No. 2 official has traditionally been an American, while the Fund’s managing directors have been from Europe.

The United States is the largest shareholder in the IMF, with 16.5% of the Fund’s voting power.

“Antoinette demonstrates a rare combination of institutional leadership, deep analytical capacity, and an unwavering commitment to fairness,” Georgieva said in a statement. (Reporting by David Lawder; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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