With the IMF chief's possible exit, Gordon Brown is among number of potential candidates thought to be in line for the job
Dominique Strauss-Kahn's possible exit from the IMF was already under discussion before his arrest because of his potential tilt at the French presidency. In any case his IMF term was due to end in 2012.
There are now numerous potential successors.
Gordon Brown bolstered his position with several speeches in the last six months on reform of the global economy. Brown sat on the IMF policy committee for 10 years, understands its often contradictory aims and knows many of the people at the top of the organisation who can get things done. David Cameron is hostile to the idea – but Brown is said to consider Cameron's antipathy to his candidature as a bonus.
Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, is credited with keeping France and its banks out of the headlines during the Greek crisis last year, though she would be the fifth French person in the role. Last week French prosecutors demanded an inquiry into Lagarde's role in awarding compensation to businessman Bernard Tapie.
Kemal Dervis Emerging market economies could vote as a bloc for an alternative candidate like Dervis, who as Turkey 's finance minister worked with the IMF to avoid sovereign bankruptcy in 2000, and now directs the global economy programme at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
Agustin Carstens, Mexico 's central bank governor would fit the bill as a representative of a growing and vibrant emerging economy. But as a graduate of the University of Chicago , which spawned a legion of hardline monetarists, he would be considered a backward step by Strauss-Kahn supporters.
Stanley Fischer was described by world-renowned economist Nouriel Roubini as "brilliant" when his name entered the frame as a possible replacement. He won a second five-year stint as governor of the Bank of Israel last year. But like Carsterns, he is considered a hawk.
South African finance minister Trevor Manuel would be an outside choice. At the moment he is involved in a racism row which would undermine his diplomatic credentials.
Shri S Sridhar runs the private-sector Central Bank of India . The long-time banker is another orthodox candidate who is currently aggressively expanding his operations across Asia , but could drop everything to be IMF boss.