Christine Lagarde has stepped down as managing director of the International Monetary Fund ahead of her anticipated move to run the European Central Bank.
The former French finance minister is awaiting a decision on her nomination to head up the ECB, and has announced she will leave the IMF on 12 September.
She has held the top job at the IMF since 2011, and could become the first ever female head of the ECB if her nomination is approved by the European Council.
Lagarde said in a statement: “With greater clarity now on the process for my nomination as ECB president and the time it will take, I have made this decision in the best interest of the fund.
“The executive board will now be taking the necessary steps to move forward with the process for selecting a new managing director.”
The former lawyer has been a controversial figure on the international scene, playing an instrumental role in Greece’s post-financial crisis bail out and last year’s rescue package for Argentina – the largest in the IMF’s history.
It is not clear at this stage who else could be put up for nomination to contest the ECB post.