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NEW DELHI : International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief economist Gita Gopinath will leave the multilateral lending agency in January and return to academia after a three-year stint.

Gopinath, an Indian-origin economist, will resume her earlier job as a professor at Harvard University’s economics department. Gopinath was the IMF’s first female chief economist and the second Indian to hold the prestigious position after Raghuram Rajan, who held the post from 2003 to 2006 before joining the finance ministry as chief economic adviser and later became the governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

“My immense gratitude to all my amazing colleagues at @IMFNews who make working at the IMF truly gratifying. I look forward to continue working with them the next few months before my return to @Harvard," Gopinath said in a tweet.

Announcing Gopinath’s exit, IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva in a statement said, Gopinath’s contribution to the Fund and our membership has been truly remarkable and her impact on the IMF’s work has been tremendous.

“She made history as the first female chief economist of the Fund and we benefitted immensely from her sharp intellect and deep knowledge of international finance and macroeconomics as we navigate through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression," Georgieva added.

At the IMF, Gopinath co-authored the “Pandemic Paper" on ending the covid-19 pandemic that set globally endorsed targets for vaccinating the world and helped set up a Climate Change team to analyze, among other things, optimal climate mitigation policies. “This work led to the creation of the Multilateral Task Force made up of the leadership of the IMF, World Bank, WTO, and WHO to help end the pandemic and the establishment of a working group with vaccine manufacturers to identify trade barriers, supply bottlenecks, and accelerate delivery of vaccines to low- and lower-middle income countries," IMF said in a statement.

The agency said it will shortly begin the search for Gopinath’s successor.

A US national and overseas citizen of India, Gopinath’s research has been published in many top economics journals.

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