Orange County Business Journal

Pimco's El-Erian: No Interest in IMF Job

Michael Lyster Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive of Newport Beach-based Pacific Investment Management Co. and a former International Monetary Fund executive, said he’s not interested in heading the IMF.

The pronouncement comes as the IMF’s current head, Dominique Strauss-Khan, is in jail in New York on allegations he sexually assaulted a hotel housekeeper.

Strauss-Khan is under pressure to step down from his post as he deals with his legal issues.

El-Erian, Pimco’s chief executive and co-chief investment officer since 2009, spent 15 years at the IMF in Washington, D.C., earlier in his career.

He serves on the IMF’s Capital Markets Consultative Group and has been a member of the fund’s Committee of Eminent Persons, an advisory group.

El-Erian told Reuters his name has been mentioned as potential candidate to lead the IMF but said he has no intention of taking the job.

He’s argued for changes in the way the IMF is run to bolster the fund’s credibility.

A long-standing practice of having Europe provide the IMF’s leaders should change in favor of a process open to all nationalities, El-Erian wrote in a recent Financial Times opinion piece.

“This feudal selection approach must be changed; and now is the time to do it,” El-Erian wrote.

The IMF is a multi-government group charged with overseeing the global financial system. The fund provides lending to financially troubled economies, often in exchange for reforms and austerity measures.

It’s now playing a leading role in the bailout of Europe’s most debt-laden countries.

Pimco is an investment fund manager that runs the largest mutual fund of any type, Pimco Total Return Fund with $240.7 billion under management.

In all, Pimco manages nearly $1.3 trillion in investments. The company traditionally has focused on bonds and diversified to stocks and other investments in recent years.