The International Monetary Fund on Thursday appointed its Indian-American Chief Economist Gita Gopinath as its first deputy managing director, the second-highest position at the global economic body.

Gopinath will take over from Geoffrey Okamoto on January 21, 2022.

The economist holds a United States citizenship and is an Overseas Citizen of India. She was appointed as the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund in October 2018.

She was the first woman chief economist in the history of the global economic body.

Gopinath received her PhD in economics from Princeton University in 2001 after earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Delhi. She earned a master’s degree from the Delhi School of Economics and the University of Washington.

The economist joined the University of Chicago in 2001 before moving to Harvard University in 2005.

“I believe that Gita – universally recognized as one of the world’s leading macroeconomists – has precisely the expertise that we need for the FDMD [first deputy managing director] role at this point,” International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a release issued late on Thursday.

Georgieva expressed gratitude for Gopinath’s decision to stay at the global organisation, as she was scheduled to return to her academic position at Harvard University in January next year.

In a statement, Gopinath said that she was “honoured and humbled” to take over as the first deputy managing director of International Monetary Fund.

“As the [coronavirus] pandemic continues its grip on us, the work of the [International Monetary] Fund has never been more critical and international cooperation never more important,” she said.