IMF To Cut Staff, But May Seek Market Expertise

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The International Monetary Fund will cut as much as 15 percent of its staff - but may look for some professionals with financial-market experience.

Reporting on an interview with IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, The Wall Street Journal indicates cuts are nearly certain. Strauss-Kahn is working to "keep the fund relevant" and gain backing from the U.S. and Europe for his plan to sell 400 tons of its gold reserve and use the proceeds to create an endowment.

Strauss-Kahn told the Journal cutting 300 to 400 of the IMF's 2,634 staff positions would save about $100 million. Offers for "voluntary separation" probably won't be enough to reach his goal, he said. "Trimming the IMF bureaucracy should produce a lot of savings, he figures," writes the Journal. "He also said he expects to cut the number of economists, now 1,269, and replace some of them with hires from financial markets who have a better feel for how markets operate."

These are the IMF's first significant layoffs. In 1986, the fund eliminated 86 jobs, and in 1980 it cut 20 jobs, the Journal says.

"There are so many layers; it's become such a bureaucracy," Strauss-Kahn told the newspaper. Because its workforce is so highly educated, he says many responsibilities could be spread out among staff members, even at lower levels.

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