After the resignation of Dominique Strauss Khan following an arrest for sexual assault, the question is, who will be the next person to lead the International Monetary Fund? Who will get the top job, responsible for reducing poverty and promoting stability and sustainable economic growth around the world?

The IMF was established following World War II as a step in trying to end worldwide financial crises around the world, such as the Great Depression.

Since its creation the leader has always been a European male, frequently French, but the economic balance of power globally is shifting away from Europe and the original founders of the IMF so we could see a change of focus.

From a British perspective, Gordon Brown was initially a strong candidate but has recently found a lack of support from Vince Cable and David Cameron. He has turned the job down once before and his opposition to the current government's policy, as well as his alleged volatile temperament could count against him.

Writing for CNN, Lawrence Sáez, associate professor of comparative and international politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, says that the new leader should come from the developing world:

The emergence of China, India, and other large emerging markets has diminished the importance of Europe in absolute terms. If the province of Jiansu (China) were a country, it would have a GDP equivalent to Switzerland.

From the developing world Sáez suggests Kemal Dervis from Turkey, Agustin Carstens from Mexico, Montek Singh Ahluwalia from India, Stanley Fischer from Israel or Trevor Manuel from South Africa.

The developing world was supposed to be given more power through the rise of the G20 as well as the re-organising of votes to give more power to developing countries such as Brazil, China, India and Russia.

Saez says the bulk of the IMF's lending activities are geared to low and lower-middle income developing countries. However, these countries have negligible voting power and no presence on the IMF's executive board.

This European-American status-quo is not exactly popular amongst these countries.

Saez: Policy responses to repair balance of payments crises are perceived as being imposed from above, from some obscure imperialistic organism.

As a result, IMF-inspired policy prescriptions are politically very unpopular in developing countries and they are often derailed.

Despite this, America and Europe still have a blocking majority on the votes (Europe has one third of all votes) so a developing world IMF chief is not a certainty.

In Europe, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, 55, could do well. Stephanie Flanders, on her BBC blog, points out that Lagarde was voted best finance minister in Europe by the Financial Times in 2009 and has gravitas and experience that other candidates lack, although if the IMF want to switch away from a French leader then this could count against her. It has also recently emerged that her bid could be spoiled by a legal inquiry, reported by Reuters.

On his Econoblog at the Independent, Sean O'Grady suggests, in the interim period before a decision, that we could be in store for a caretaker manager at the IMF:

First Deputy Managing Director John Lipsky is at the top of the janitorial premier league. Were it not for his nationality and the fact that he has declared he wants to stand down from Fund duties since the autumn, he would be a perfectly plausible candidate to take over from Strauss-Kahn permanently.

By convention, an American runs the World Bank (Robert Zoellick) and the IMF is headed by a European. However as new economic markets emerge, previous certainties about economically powerful countries are being strongly challenged and the IMF leadership could be another such event.