AN ADVISOR OF MICHAEL DEPLER HEADED IMF MISSION TO BULGARIA
Uha Kahkonen marked considerable achievements in Bulgaria and was sent to settle the financial turmoil in Turkey. The situation of the financial sector on the other side of the Bosphore is much more dangerous than what it was in Bulgaria in 1996 and the beginning of 1997. In favour of this statement comes the fact that Uha Kahkonen, the IMF Mission leader, has urgently left for Ankara still on April 8, 2001, just a day after getting his new assignment.
Gerald Alan Shiff has taken the leader's position of the IMF Mission to Bulgaria. He is 43-years old, married and has one son. In 1979 he started his economics studies at the Corner University in the USA, but a year later he transferred to the University of Wisconsin. He graduated in 1984 with a PhD in International Economy. The same year he started as a research fellow at the Tulan University, and four years later he undertook the career of a professional financial expert with the US Department of Finance.
Since 1989 Shiff started his career at the IMF. First he was appointed an economist with the Economic Programmes Departmen, and three years later he moved to the Financial Policy Department. In 1997 Shiff was transferred to the IMF Second European Department, where he started working directly with the countries which have been launched credits by IMF. A year later he was promoted to Senior Economist, responsible for the Baltic countries, and since 1998 he has also undertaken Russia.
From January 1997 till March 2001 Gerald Shiff had the opportunity of working with the already stable economies of the Baltic states, where the currency board was in force, and in the meantime he acquired good knowledge of the chaos of the Russian financial system. So that neither the current status of Bulgaria, nor the closest past of its financial system are expected to surprise him. For a month already he has been working as an advisor to Michael Depler, Director of IMF First European Department. In 1996 it was Depler and Ann MacGirk, at that time leader of IMF Mission to Bulgaria, who posed straight requests to the ruling BCP government for closing Bulgarian banks, restructuring of real economy, and implementation of a currency board by the end of the year.
Replacement of IMF Mission leaders should not be expected to remain an isolated relay in the financial institution's team working with Bulgarian authorities. In June 2001 will expire the authorisation of Peter Stella, IMF resident representative in Bulgaria. He arrived in Bulgaria on December 1, 1997, when he succeeded to that position Franek Rozwadovsky.
Stella seems to be the foreigner who best knows the local economy, as he directly participated in the overall process of establishing financial stability and monitored the fulfillment of all liabilities as per the three-year arrangement with IMF. It is not surprising that he is the only representative of the international financial institution, who has been assigned a second mandate in Bulgaria.