tv The David Rubenstein Show Peer to Peer Conversations Bloomberg December 15, 2018 1:00pm-1:31pm EST
>> when your head of the imf -- >> had you get to be head of the entire firm? >> it is in those situations when a woman arises. >> you became a member of the national team of france. >> i did many international -- -- events. >> did you experience discrimination? >> when i interviewed with law firms. i was told in those days i would never make permission because i was a woman. >> i thought people would not recognize me if my tie was fixed. ♪
david: i don't consider myself a journalist. i began to take on the life of being an interviewer even though i have a day job of running a private equity firm. how do you define leadership? what is it that makes somebody tick? many people do not know what the imf is. christine: it was set up by 44 men. david: no women? christine: on the eve of the second world war with the view to avoid major economic crisis, major instability in the world. which in their view led to the war. that is the intentions. david: where do you get your money? christine: every member
contributes to the financing of this common pot. david: it seems to be an informal understanding that the world bank would be headed by an american and that has been the case. am i correct? christine: i want to believe that it is going to be headed by somebody who has the competence to do the job. it has been a european at the fund and an american at the bank. i think that is the arrangement in the early days. the world looked different. david: the world looks different today. asia is significant so people from china or japan say -- what about us? christine: china is interested. china has a representative on my management team. there is a managing director. there is the first deputy managing director, who is an american. i have three deputy managing directors. one is chinese. one is brazilian and one is
japanese. there is a lot of diversity on the management team. david: let's go back to how you came to this position. you grew up in france. what did you -- what did your parents do? were they educators? christine: they were professors. my father was a professor of english literature and my mother was teaching french grammar, latin and ancient greek. that is the universe that populated my childhood. david: when you are growing up with parents like that, you are good in languages. they made sure you know. christine: i was hopeless. i was bad. david: you are a very good student. you were also interested in synchronized swimming at that time? can you explain what it is and how you can to be on the national team of france? christine: the activities had to
do with the riots we had an -- in france in 1968. students were taking the streets, my parents were terrified i would do that. they allowed me to go to the pool so i could spend all my time at the pool. i enjoyed swimming. one day after another, i became interested in synchronized swimming, which brought together girls, so it is teamwork that required music and i always liked music and discipline. i joined the team. david: you became a member of the national team of france. were you on the olympic team? christine: it was not an olympic sport at that time. championship.
david: do you swim? christine: including this morning. david: how do you have time? christine: i get up at 5:00. david: that helps. the pool does not open until -- listing: -- christine the pool : does not open until 6:00. david: what did you study in college? christine: i studied this except -- basic subjects that everybody studies, french, math, english, geography, history, physics, plus sports. which were not so important in those days in france. david: often leaders in france had to go to certain schools. did you go to one of those? christine: i failed. miserably. the first time i was in love with somebody and i did not study hard. the second year i did study hard with a group of others who studied and i missed the date of registration to take the exam.
david: you became a lawyer. what propelled you to want to be a lawyer? christine: i wanted to abolish the death penalty. when i started law school, the death penalty was the truth of criminal law and for personal, religious and other reasons i wanted to eradicate this penalty -- in eradicating this penalty in france. unfortunately, when i finished, my law school where i graduated and could have joined the group, the death penalty had been abolished. david: did you practice in france? christine: i did for a few years. i was doing like many lawyers in , those days, you had to do corporate, antitrust, labor.
the french president elected was a socialist. the government came out with lots of very hard labor rules to benefit the unions and workers and all of that. most of our clients were international corporate score american companies invested in france and i was busy. david: were there many women lawyers in france in those days? christine: no. one reason i joined was the managing partner was a woman and she was a role model to me. david: baker mckenzie was one of the largest law firms in the world and it was based in chicago. at some point, how did you get to be the head of the entire firm? you are a woman. it is a male firm. you are from france. it is an american firm. how did you get elected to be the managing director and moved
to chicago? christine: i would love to think it was merits and the quality of the work i was doing. it is interesting. i begin managing her of the paris office. gradually i was doing a decent job. i was picked up on the nominating committee who selected me to join the executive committee and i was the first woman to be on that committee. i went back to practice. happily. they came back to get me. by that time, it was a mess. the i.t. budget was out of order. the knowledge management system was a disaster. management was not trusted. the nominating committee had a tough time selecting somebody. it is in those situations a woman arises.
♪ david: you are the head of baker mckenzie. was it a foreign situation because you are living in the midwest of the united states? you are from france. christine: chicago is a fantastic city. i had lots of friends and i still have many of them today. i enjoyed my experience in chicago. david: all of a sudden, nicolas sarkozy gets elected president of france. did you know him?
christine: it was two years before that. the prime minister was in charge and he was the one who called me. david: he called you to be minister of trade? and you went back and served for a couple years and how did you like that? christine: i loved it. i really loved it. it was a massive change in my life geographically, socially, financially as well. david: i assume the income was not the same. christine: it was divided by 10. but i loved it because it was a job i most enjoyed in government. i was selling funds around the -- france around the world and the president knew i was this strange animal coming out of private sector and life and corporate life. he had respect and i had huge respect for him.
david: when sarkozy does get elected president -- christine: he asked me to be minister of culture. i had no clue about. he asked me to become minister of france. he asked me to be -- because he knew it was going to be a hot potato and he wanted somebody who was international. david: they said give her another job. probably you did such a good job. were you the first woman to be the finance minister of a major country in western europe? christine: i was the first in a g7 country, of many countries actually. david: you were a lawyer by training and you are in charge of finances for france. did you have any background? were you worried about not having background or did your job as a minister of trade help you?
christine: my whole background helped me. i recognized i was going to have to learn from the treasury department. i had to work hard. david: you did a good job by all accounts and the imf managing director position opens up. did you want the job or did you have to be persuaded? christine: so many things in life happened out of the right timing, the right people, and my sense of, all right let us try it. let's do it. when i return back to france -- returned back to france as a minister, i had not thought about my pension, the reporting line, how it would work out. i wanted to do it. i wanted to help the country. a finance minister, i do not think i anticipated at all that two months into the job, the beginning of the financial
crisis would loom as a result of the closure of the bmp accounts. you roll your sleeves and work and team up with people who know what they are doing and who have a good moral compass. david: you have done a good job at the imf. one thing you have to worry about is not just countries not doing well but the economy of the world. your job is to remote stability -- promote stability and development and employment. how do you think we are better prepared around the world for another financial collapse like 10 years ago? christine: i think we are better prepared. at least in certain areas we have learned lessons. when you look at the banking system, when you look at the ring of supervisors, when you look at the set of regulations that apply, we are much better prepared.
the banks around the world, capital ratios, liquidity ratios, leverage on all those fronts we have made progress. there are areas because risks tend to trouble the french and if you look at other areas, pension funds, syntactic elements to my those are areas where i am not sure we have the same added security in relation to the banking sector. that -- there are other numbers much more worrying. when you look at debt, there is a weight of debt on corporate sovereign and household have -- has gone up by virtue of the stimulus and indebtedness in response to the crisis. david: when the euro was created, it was thought by some it would become a reserved currency. why is it not? christine: i think the job is unfinished. it is advanced and the financial
crisis has moved the euro and its institutions in the direction of consolidating with a stronger set of institutions and with more unity among the users of the euro. does 19 members of the euro. the job is not finished. the banking union is not completed and there is too much uncertainty in the fiscal policy. or at least should share the same objective. david: let's talk about brexit. when do think that will be resolved? christine: we will know march 30 2019 because that is the cut off date, when either there was -- is a brutal exit, which would be costly for the u.k. and that you the eu.
or there is an arrangement that deals with the period of transition into the regime which can be a variation of pretrade agreements between the u.k. and european union, which could go from the norwegian model to the canadian model and will have to respect one thing which is a redline for many and that is the irish war. -- border. david: if great britain does get out of the e.u., do you think that will deteriorate the european economy? christine: i think it will be not negative in all cases. the variability of net will depend on the brutality. the more brutal, the more negativities. i think it will be more severe for the u.k. then it will be for the rest of the european union. and within the european union, you have a few countries that will be more exposed than others. those who deal with the u.k.
such as ireland, probably belgium, probably the netherlands. david: have you noticed sometimes the men do not want to do it? they give it to a woman to do. christine: you said it. david: the prime minister of great britain is a woman and none of the men want to take that job. they know it is a difficult situation. when you are the head of the imf, do people come up for selfies? do they bother you? christine: they recognize me. they ask for selfies and it is very nice. it is a lot of ego food which i take and store for the heart base. ♪
david: let's talk about china. do you have to worry about chinese debt? or not? christine: chinese growth has been going down. i remember the days when it was double digits. it has gradually come down. every time it was moving from a 10 to a nine to an eight to a seven, there was trepidation. i have heard so many times china was going to collapse. it has not collapsed. it held a great deal of world economy at the time of the financial crisis because it was one of the first to come out with a huge package in order to -- package of stimulus in order to kickstart the economy. yes it is heavily invested. -- indebted. they are trying to bring that in. ign that in. in --re
at the same time, it is a country that has massive transition issues to be a with -- deal with and where the necessary reduction of growth by virtue of the size of the economy now has to be monitored, has to be under control. in order to tame any risk of conflict. that is how i see it. david: what about the tariffs? president trump has imposed tariffs against china and other parts of the world. do you think that is a plus for the economy or not? christine: i think tariffs are not a good idea in general. if they impact trade to the point that trade no longer plays the role as a management for growth. -- as an engine for growth. what do we see in the last 30 years? we see trade growing faster than growth. it has been a driving engine for growth. we see people taken out of poverty. we see the cost of living in
advanced economies including the united states lowered by virtue of cheaper refrigerators. cheaper television sets. cheaper telephones and so on. they are made in countries where costs are lower. there have been huge benefits. not only benefits but there have been huge benefits and i do not think we can dispense of those benefits going forward. my take on that is fix it. don't break it. trade needs fixing. there is no question president trump could get it right where hurts. there are issues about trade rules in organization that need to be addressed and dealt with. david: you have spoken about the fact women should be a corporate -- incorporate boards or board rooms more than they have been as ceos. do you think you have made progress and what you think -- why do you think women should be represented in these positions?
christine: there is a clear economic case now that women on the board, on the executive committees and management actually generate better returns, better results, better profits. even if you have a very cold heart, no moral imperatives and no sympathy for women and the principle of inclusion, even if you were that person, has to you have to -- you have to consider including women and bringing them to the table, to all the tables. have we made progress? yes. when i look at numbers, it tells me we have made progress altogether. do we still have a long way to go? yes as well. david: did you experience discrimination because you are a woman and you feel you are still experiencing it? christine: i did experience discrimination from the
first-day when i interviewed with law firms where i was told in those days i would never make partnership because i was a woman. or when i was regarded by japanese clients in those days as a woman who can serve coffee when i was a practicing attorney, negotiating for them. there are instances where i walk in a room full of men and i can just tell, they just smile about their face which is either there she goes again. she is going to talk about women or wonder what she has to say. it is less so the case. when you are in the minority, that is an experiment. david: what is the greatest pleasure? christine: working with the teams. david: what is the worst? christine: having to sit through
meetings which end of nowhere. -- up nowhere. david: at least you do not say interviews that asked the same questions. i am sure you have been asked these questions before. before we wrap up, you said you were going to finish your term here. when you do, you will be the young by -- you will be young by most standards. have you thought what you would do? christine: give me some good advice. david: when you are head of the imf and you go to have breakfast in washington or other in famous cities, do people come up for selfies? or do you go where you want to go? christine: no. they recognize me. they asked for selfies. -- ask for selfies. most of the time, they are very nice and flattering and complementing and it is very nice. it is ego food which i've taken
francine: ross mcewan is the consummate retail banker. he was the head of the commonwealth bank of australia before taking over the retail division of rbs in 2012. a year later he was named chief executive. running rbs poses unique challenges. under his leadership the bank posted its first profit in 10 years in 2018. with the chief executive called -- today on "leaders with lacqua," we meet ross mcewan.