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IMF Appoints Ukraine Chief With Experience of War-Torn Iraq

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- The International Monetary Fund is tapping as its new mission chief for Ukraine an economist who helped manage the relationship with Iraq, where the lender of last resort delivered money to rebuild the country after the ravages of war.

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Gavin Gray, who served as Iraq mission chief from 2018 to 2020, will take on the new role as of Sept. 20, the IMF said on Wednesday in response to questions from Bloomberg News.

He’ll take over at a time when the IMF is working on a “food-shock window” to help countries affected hit by the food-supply crisis spurred in part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The nation could be one of those to benefit from the effort, Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Tuesday after speaking with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The funding that Ukraine could get this way would be “in the ballpark” of the $1.4 billion in emergency resources it got in March just days after the war began, Georgieva said.

The IMF approved Iraq for $5.3 billion in borrowing in 2016. Those disbursements stopped in 2017 because the nation failed to meet the conditions agreed under the loan.

Read more: Why Ukraine Debt Relief Isn’t Matching Funding Needs: QuickTake

The lender is also working with Ukraine on a deeper, longer-term program, including an IMF mission in the coming weeks, Georgieva said.

Gray replaces Ivanna Vladkova Hollar, who is moving to another position at the IMF after serving as Ukraine mission chief and head negotiator for the nation’s loans since May 2020.

Read more: IMF Plans Food-Shock Help as It Mulls Revamp of Global Role

The team in Ukraine is undergoing a broader overhaul in staff leadership, with Julie Kozack, who led negotiations with Argentina to rescue its record loan, set to oversee and guide the staff team as a deputy director of the European department.

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