Washington: French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde on Tuesday became the first woman to head the International Monetary Fund after its executive board chose her over Mexican Central Bank Governor Agustin Carstens.
   
Lagarde, 55, who succeeds Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is the first woman named to the top IMF post since the institution's inception in 1944.
   
Lagarde, picked with backing from the US, Russia, China and Europe, faces immediate crisis talks over Europe.
   
She takes over at a tumultuous time when emerging nations want a greater voice at the IMF and the organisation's reputation has been tarred by a scandal involving Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
   
The IMF's 24-member Executive Board agreed that both were well qualified candidates and the objective was to select one by consensus. Based on the candidate profile that had been established, the Executive Board, after considering all relevant information on the candidacies, proceeded to select Ms Lagarde by consensus.
   
Her five-year term will start on July 5, 2011. Strauss-Kahn resigned last month after being charged with sexually assaulting a New York City hotel housekeeper.

(Agencies)