Israel's central bank chief, Stanley Fischer, is interested in the top job at the International Monetary Fund and has received a number of phone calls in recent days from around the world encouraging him to apply, a person familiar with the banker's thinking told The Associated Press on Sunday.
The person said Fischer has not decided whether to pursue the job and has no desire to leave his current post, but would have a hard time saying no to the IMF. "If the opportunity comes along, he will take it," said the person.
He spoke on condition of anonymity because Fischer is still weighing his options. He said he expects Fischer to make a decision within the next two weeks.
Fischer, an internationally respected economist, held the No. 2 position at the IMF during the 1990s and is well acquainted with the workings of the fund.
Born in Zambia and educated at the London School of Economics and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he also has held top jobs at the World Bank and at Citigroup Corp.
Fischer came to Israel in 2005 to take the post of governor of the Bank of Israel. He has been widely credited with enabling the country to largely escape the global economic crisis. Unemployment in Israel is just over 6 percent, and the real estate sector is booming.
Last year, he was appointed to a second five-year term.
Fischer has received phone calls from top IMF officials and officials from major finance ministries around the world encouraging him to seek the post, the person said. He refused to identify the countries or officials.
The post has traditionally gone to a European, and French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has emerged as the front-runner. Developing nations have argued that someone from another region should be considered.
The IMF's last director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, quit this month after he was accused of attempting to rape a New York hotel maid.