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Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Strauss-Kahn, Dominique (official portrait 2008).jpg
Managing Director of the
International Monetary Fund
In office
1 November 2007 – 18 May 2011
Preceded by Rodrigo Rato
Succeeded by Christine Lagarde
Personal details
Dominique Gaston André Strauss-Kahn

(1949-04-25) 25 April 1949 (age 75)
Neuilly-sur-Seine, Seine, France
Political party Socialist Party
Hélène Dumas
(m. 1967; div. 1984)
Brigitte Guillemette
(m. 1984; div. 1989)
Anne Sinclair
(m. 1991; div. 2013)
Myriam L'Aouffir
(m. 2017)
Education HEC Paris
Sciences Po
Paris Institute of Statistics
Paris Nanterre University

Dominique Gaston André Strauss-Kahn (French pronunciation: [dɔminik stʁos kan]; born 25 April 1949), also known as DSK, is a French economist and politician who served as the tenth managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and was a member of the French Socialist Party.

He was a professor of economics at Paris West University Nanterre La Défense and Sciences Po, and was Minister of Economy and Finance from 1997 to 1999, as part of Lionel Jospin's Plural Left government. He sought the nomination in the Socialist Party presidential primary of 2006, but was defeated by Ségolène Royal.

Strauss-Kahn was appointed managing director of the IMF on 28 September 2007, with the backing of then–President of France Nicolas Sarkozy. He served in that capacity until his resignation on 18 May 2011.

These legal cases led to him dropping out the 2012 French presidential election, where he had been the favorite to win the Socialist Party's nomination and the presidential election, and put an end to his political career. He then resumed his activities in the private sector, mainly advising governments on their sovereign debts.

Early life

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was born on 25 April 1949 in the wealthy Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine. He is the son of lawyer Gilbert Strauss-Kahn. Strauss-Kahn's father was born to an Alsatian Jewish father and a Catholic mother from Lorraine; Strauss-Kahn's mother is from a Sephardic Jewish family in Tunisia.

He and his parents settled in Agadir, Morocco, in 1951, but after the 1960 earthquake moved to Monaco, where his father practised law. While the family was living in Monaco, Strauss-Kahn went to school at the Lycée Albert Premier. The family later returned to Paris, where he attended classes préparatoires at the Lycée Carnot. He graduated from HEC Paris in 1971 and from Sciences Po and the Paris Institute of Statistics in 1972. He failed the entrance examination for École nationale d'administration, but obtained a bachelor degree in public law, as well as a PhD and an agrégation (1977) in economics at the Université Paris X (Nanterre).

Marriage and children

Strauss-Kahn has been married four times and has five children. His first wife was Hélène Dumas, whom he married in 1967 when he was 18 and she was 20. The marriage lasted sixteen years and produced three children — Vanessa (1973), Marine (1976), and Laurin (1981) — but ended in divorce. Strauss-Kahn married his second wife, Brigitte Guillemette, a public relations executive, in 1986. Their daughter, Camille, was born in 1985. His third wife (married 1991) was Anne Sinclair, a popular French journalist and heiress, the granddaughter of art dealer Paul Rosenberg. In 2012, the press announced Sinclair and Strauss-Kahn's separation. Their divorce was finalized in 2013.

In 2017, Strauss-Kahn married Myriam L'Aouffir [fr], a digital communications expert. Strauss-Kahn also has an American son, Darius, born in 2010, as a result of an affair while he was serving as Director General of the IMF in Washington DC.

Career outside politics

From 1977 to 1981, Strauss-Kahn lectured at the University of Nancy-II, first as an assistant, and later as assistant professor, before taking a position at the University of Nanterre. In 1982, he was appointed to the Plan Commission as head of the finance department, and later as Deputy Commissioner, a position he held until his election to the National Assembly in 1986. After his ousting in the 1993 parliamentary elections, Strauss-Kahn founded DSK Consultants, a corporate law consulting firm. Upon resigning from Lionel Jospin's government he resumed his academic duties, teaching economics at Sciences Po from 2000 until his appointment to the IMF in 2007.

Political career

Strauss-Kahn was first an activist member of the Union of Communist Students, before joining in the 1970s the Centre d'études, de recherches et d'éducation socialiste (Center on Socialist Education Studies and Research, CERES) led by Jean-Pierre Chevènement, future presidential candidate at the 2002 election. There, he befriended the future Prime Minister of France Lionel Jospin (PS).

After the election of President François Mitterrand (PS) in 1981, he decided to stay out of government. He got involved in the Socialist Party (PS), which was led by Lionel Jospin, and founded Socialisme et judaïsme ("Socialism and Judaism"). The next year, he was appointed to the Commissariat au plan (Planning Commission) as commissaire-adjoint.

In 1986, he was elected Member of Parliament for the first time in the Haute-Savoie department, and in 1988 in the Val-d'Oise department. He became chairman of the National Assembly Committee on Finances, famously exchanging heated words with the Finance Minister Pierre Bérégovoy (PS).

Minister for Industry (1991–93)

In 1991, he was nominated by Mitterrand to be Junior Minister for Industry and Foreign Trade in Édith Cresson's social-democratic government. He kept his position in Pierre Bérégovoy's government until the 1993 general elections.

After the electoral defeat of 1993, Strauss-Kahn was appointed by former Prime Minister Michel Rocard chairman of the groupe des experts du PS ("Group of Experts of the Socialist Party"), created by Claude Allègre. The same year, he founded the law firm DSK Consultants, and worked as a business lawyer.

In 1994, Raymond Lévy, who was director of Renault, invited him to join the Cercle de l'Industrie, a French industry lobby in Brussels, where he met the billionaire businessman Vincent Bolloré and top manager Louis Schweitzer; Strauss-Kahn served as secretary-general and later as vice-president. This lobbyist activity earned him criticism from the alter-globalization left.

In June 1995, he was elected mayor of Sarcelles and married Anne Sinclair, a famous television journalist working for the private channel TF1 and in charge of a political show, Sept sur Sept. She ceased presenting this show after Strauss-Kahn's nomination as Minister of Economics and Finance in 1997, in order to avoid conflict of interest, while Strauss-Kahn himself ceded his place as mayor to François Pupponi in order to avoid double responsibilities.

Minister for Economics, Finances and Industry (1997–99)

In 1997, Prime Minister Lionel Jospin (PS) appointed Strauss-Kahn as Minister for Economics, Finance and Industry, making him one of the most influential ministers in his Plural Left government.

Although it was in theory contrary to the Socialist Party's electoral program, he implemented a wide privatization program, which included among others the IPO of France Télécom; he also implemented some deregulation policies in the research and development sector. The French economy achieved an excellent performance during his term of office: GDP increased, whereas unemployment and public debt decreased (creation of 300,000 jobs in 1998, a level not seen since 1969). This helped to strengthen his popularity and managed to win the support of former supporters of Jospin and Michel Rocard, making him the leader of the reform-oriented group Socialisme et démocratie. Strauss-Kahn was an early proponent of reducing the working week to 35 hours, a measure implemented by Martine Aubry, Minister for Social Policies.

In 1998 he became one of the leaders of the Socialist Party for the regional elections in the Ile-de-France region (Paris and suburbs), which were won by the PS. But as Strauss-Kahn refused to swap his ministry for the executive leadership of the Ile-de-France, Jean-Paul Huchon became the president of the regional council.

In 1999, he was accused of corruption in two financial scandals related to Elf Aquitaine and the MNEF Affair, a student mutual health insurance, and decided to resign from his ministerial office to fight these charges, in agreement with the "Balladur jurisprudence". He was replaced by Christian Sautter. He was acquitted in November 2001, and was reelected in a by-election in the Val-d'Oise.

As Minister of Economics and Finance, Strauss-Kahn succeeded in decreasing VAT to 5.5% for renovation works in construction, thus supporting this activity. At the same time, he decreased the budget deficit, which was more than 3% of GDP under Alain Juppé's center-right government (1995–97). He thus prepared France's entrance into the eurozone. Strauss-Kahn also repealed the Thomas Act on hedge funds, and launched the Conseil d'orientation des retraites (Orientation Council on Pensions).

Strauss-Kahn succeeded in combining followers of Jospin and Rocard in the same political movement, Socialisme et démocratie, but failed to make it more than an informal network.

Socialist rally Zenith 2007 05 29 n4
Speaking at a socialist rally in May 2007

In opposition

After Jacques Chirac's success in the 2002 presidential election and the following Union for a Popular Movement (UMP)'s majority in Parliament, Strauss-Kahn was re-elected Member of Parliament on 16 June 2002, in the 8th circonscription of the Val-d'Oise. He first declined in taking part in the new leadership of the PS, then in the opposition, in the 2003 congress of the party. But he joined the party's leadership again at the end of 2004, and was given overall responsibility for drawing up the Socialist programme for the 2007 presidential election, along with Martine Aubry and Jack Lang. During the summer meeting of 2005, he announced that he would be a candidate for the primary elections of the Socialist Party for the presidential election.

At the same time, Strauss-Kahn co-founded the think tank À gauche en Europe (To the Left in Europe) along with Michel Rocard. He presided jointly with Jean-Christophe Cambadélis over the Socialisme et démocratie current in the PS.

Strauss-Kahn was one of the first French politicians to enter the blogosphere; his blog became one of the most visited, along with Juppé's, during his stay in Quebec.

Strauss-Kahn then campaigned for a 'Yes' vote in the 2005 French European Constitution referendum. More than 54% of the French citizens refused it, damaging Strauss-Kahn's position inside the PS, while left-wing Laurent Fabius, who had campaigned for a 'No' vote, was reinforced.

Strauss-Kahn sought the nomination for the Socialist candidacy in the 2007 presidential election. His challengers were former prime minister Laurent Fabius and Ségolène Royal, the president of the Poitou-Charentes region. Strauss-Kahn finished second, behind Royal. On 13 April 2007, Strauss-Kahn called for an "anti-Sarkozy front" between the two rounds of the forthcoming presidential election. Following Ségolène Royal's defeat, Strauss-Kahn criticized the PS's strategy and its chairman, François Hollande. Along with Fabius, he then resigned from the party's national directorate in June 2007. Strauss-Kahn had been widely expected to seek the Socialist nomination for President of France in 2012, and was considered an early favorite.

IMF Managing Director (2007–11)

On 10 July 2007, Strauss-Kahn became the consensus European nominee to be the head of the IMF, with the personal support of President Nicolas Sarkozy (member of the right UMP party). Former Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka withdrew his candidacy as it was opposed by the majority of European countries. Some critics alleged that Sarkozy proposed Strauss-Kahn as managing director of the IMF to deprive the Socialist Party of one of its more popular figures.

Strauss-Kahn became the front runner in the race to become Managing Director of the IMF, with the support of the 27-nation European Union, the United States, China and most of Africa. On 28 September 2007, the International Monetary Fund's 24 executive directors selected him as the new managing director. Strauss-Kahn replaced Spain's Rodrigo Rato. On 30 September 2007, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was formally named as the new head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The only other nominee was the Czech Josef Tošovský, a late candidate proposed by Russia. Strauss-Kahn said: "I am determined to pursue without delay the reforms needed for the IMF to make financial stability serve the international community, while fostering growth and employment". Under Strauss-Kahn the IMF's pursuit of financial stability included calls for a possible replacement of the dollar as the world's reserve currency. An IMF report from January 2011 called for a stronger role for special drawing rights (SDR) in order to stabilize the global financial system. According to the report, an expanded role for SDRs could help to stabilize the international monetary system. Furthermore, for most countries (except for those using the US dollar as their currency) there would be several advantages in switching the pricing of certain assets, such as oil and gold, from dollars to SDRs. For some commentators, that amounts to a call for a "new world currency that would challenge the dominance of the dollar".

Strauss-Kahn made comments that could be perceived as critical of global financial actors, in an interview for a documentary about the late-2000s financial crisis, Inside Job (2010). He said he had attended a dinner organised by former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in which several CEOs of 'the biggest banks in the U.S.' had admitted they (or perhaps bankers in general) were 'too greedy' and bore part of the responsibility for the crisis. They said the government "'should regulate more, because we are too greedy, we can't avoid it.'" Strauss-Kahn said he warned the officials of a number of departments of the U.S. government of an impending crisis. He also said: "At the end of the day, the poorest – as always – pay the most."

Referring to his diplomatic efforts to secure IMF aid for Europe following the 2010 sovereign debt crisis, economist Simon Johnson described Strauss-Kahn as "Metternich with a BlackBerry". In May 2011, referring to the IMF's change of heart in favour of progressive rather than neoliberal values, Joseph Stiglitz wrote that Strauss-Kahn had proved himself to be a "sagacious leader" of the institution.

John Lipsky, the IMF's second-in-command, was named acting Managing Director on 15 May 2011.

He was on a plane, about to take off, when airport police asked that the plane be stopped; he was escorted off the plane and interviewed by police. The case was later settled for an undisclosed amount, with the Associated Press and The Atlantic reporting that it was rumoured to be around $6 million.


Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, 2007–2011

Governmental functions
  • Minister of Industry and Foreign trade, 1991–1993.
  • Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry, 1997–1999 (resignation).
Electoral mandates
  • Member of the National Assembly of France for Val d'Oise (8th constituency): 1988–1991 (he became minister in 1991) / Reelected in 1997, but he became minister / 2001–2007 (resigned on becoming managing director of the IMF in 2007). Elected in 1988, reelected in 1997, 2001, 2002, 2007.
  • Member of the National Assembly of France for Savoie: 1986–1988.
Regional Council
  • Regional councillor of Ile-de-France, 1998–2001 (resignation).
Municipal Council
  • Mayor of Sarcelles, 1995–1997 (resignation).
  • Deputy-mayor of Sarcelles, 1997–2007 (resigned on becoming managing director of the IMF in 2007). Reelected in 2001.
  • Municipal councillor of Sarcelles, 1989–2007 (resigned on becoming managing director of the IMF in 2007). Reelected in 1995, 2001.
Agglomeration community Council
  • President of the Agglomeration community of Val de France, 2002–2007 (resigned on becoming managing director of the IMF in 2007).
  • Member of the Agglomeration community of Val de France, 2002–2007 (resigned on becoming managing director of the IMF in 2007).

Board of Russian Regional Development Bank (2013–)

In July 2013, Strauss-Kahn accepted a position as a board member of the Russian Regional Development Bank: a banking subsidiary of the Russian state oil company Rosneft. Shortly after that he also accepted a similar position at the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

Activities in Ukraine

He was a member of the supervisory board of the bank Kredit Dnipro and involved himself in the bank Arjil, for which he raised advisory assignments to the Serbian Government in 2013 and to the Tunisian Government in 2016.

Adviser to the Serbian Government

On 13 September 2013, it was announced by Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić that Strauss-Kahn would become economic adviser to the Serbian government and that he was expected in Belgrade the following week.

Adviser to South Sudan government

Strauss-Kahn has helped the government of South Sudan to set up the National Credit Bank in May 2013. The bank was owned by the now bankrupt joint venture Leyne, Strauss-Kahn and Partners. But shortly after the bank was established, fighting in South Sudan began and in October 2014 he left the bank.

Investment banking and hedge fund

On 25 September 2013, it was announced that Strauss-Kahn was to join Anatevka, a small investment banking firm based in Luxembourg. The firm was also to change its name to Leyne, Strauss-Kahn and Partners or LSK. His lead partner in the venture is Thierry Leyne. In 2014, LSK announced an effort to launch a $2 billion hedge fund.

Three days after Strauss-Kahn left the National Credit Bank in October 2014, Thierry Leyne died in Tel Aviv. On 7 November 2014, the company filed for bankruptcy with debts of 100 million .

France 2 television has investigated Strauss-Kahn (Cash Investigation) and has shown that he has made a profit of several millions dollars after the crash of National Credit Bank.


  • Inflation et partage des surplus; le cas des ménages. Cujas, 1975. (with André Babeau and André Masson).
  • Économie de la famille et accumulation patrimoniale. Cujas. 1977.
  • La Richesse des Français- Epargne, Plus-value/Héritage. (with André Babeau). Paris: PUF, 1977. Collection « L'économiste » ed. Pierre Tabatoni. Enquête sur la fortune des Français.
  • Pierre Bérégovoy: une volonté de réforme au service de l'économie 1984–1993. Cheff, 2000. (with Christian Sautter)
  • La Flamme et la Cendre, Grasset, 2002, (ISBN: 2-01-279122-0)
  • Lettre ouverte aux enfants d'Europe, Grasset, 2004, (ISBN: 2-246-68251-7)
  • Pour l'égalité réelle: Eléments pour un réformisme radical, Note de la Fondation Jean Jaurès, 2004
  • DVD pour le Oui à la constitution, 2005
  • 365 jours, journal contre le renoncement, Grasset, 2006

See also

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