The International Monetary Fund has named Christine Lagarde as its new head and the first woman to lead the organization, according to an e-mailed statement released from Washington today.

Currently France's finance minister, Lagarde, 55, replaces Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned in May after his arrest in New York on charges he attempted to rape a hotel maid.

Lagarde's experience is expected to serve her well in her new role: She was a pivotal force in the negotiations surrounding the euro zone debt crisis that might deal a blow to a global economic recovery that remains tenuous.

Lagarde is not a trained economist. However, she is expected to surround herself with a strong team of advisers to get her message out. Her background in law is expected to be key, as she handled negotiations involving the rescues of Greece, Ireland and Portugal over the past year.

As she takes the helm at the IMF, questions have been raised by economists about Lagarde's crisis-management skills as they ponder the wisdom behind last years Greek bailout.

She took to Twitter to announce the decision, The results are in: I am honoured and delighted that the board has entrusted me with the position of MD of the IMF!

She is expected to start on July 5.