Jennifer Lester to retire as IMF director of corporate services and facilities

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Jennifer Lester

WASHINGTON, USA – Jennifer Lester, director of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) corporate services and facilities department, will retire on October 31 after a 25-year Fund career, managing director Kristalina Georgieva announced.

“Jennifer has been an inspiring leader at the Fund, a mentor to many, and highly respected by all,” Georgieva said. “She has left a lasting mark on all who have had an opportunity to work with her. We have all come to know Jennifer for her sound judgment, and unwavering calm and grace under pressure as she led the Fund through the destabilizing period of the COVID-19 health crisis as head of the fund’s crisis management team.”

“Recognizing that our experiences during the pandemic presented an opportunity to transform how we work as an organization, Jennifer spearheaded an inter-departmental effort that developed our new hybrid working model, which will have a profound effect on our continuing ability to serve the membership, improve work-life balance, attract new talent, and reduce our carbon footprint,” Georgieva said. “Her consistent attention to the needs and safety of staff, and careful planning in consultation with our health services, has enabled a successful return to HQ and our field offices. I know I speak for my management team and the executive board in expressing profound gratitude for Jennifer’s stewardship during one of the most difficult periods in our history and for making the fund a more modern institution.”

Lester, a Jamaican national, joined the fund as counsel in the legal department in 1997, rising to senior positions, including in her last role in that department as assistant general counsel in charge of the administrative law unit. She was a trusted advisor to the human resources department, the management team, and the executive board on the most sensitive legal matters affecting the administration of the institution. She also spearheaded a number of institution-wide initiatives and innovations, including the establishment of the mediation office, reforms to the staff employment framework and institutional review process, and the orderly promulgation of rules through the staff handbook. She was appointed director of corporate services and facilities in 2020, after serving as its deputy director for four years.

Prior to her fund career, Lester was a legal officer at the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, and previously practiced corporate law, international trade law and litigation as an associate in private practice. Before that, she served in Jamaica’s government from 1979 to 1991, first as a foreign service officer at the ministry of foreign affairs in Kingston and then as minister counsellor in the embassy of Jamaica in Washington.

She received her Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC, and holds a Master of Science degree in International Relations and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern Languages from the University of the West Indies.

The search for Lester’s successor will begin shortly.

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