The race to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the head of International Monetary Fund (IMF) heated up, Tuesday, even as pressure mounted on the international agency to force him to resign so that its authority is not undermined.

At a gathering of European in Brussels, Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter called on Strauss-Kahn to resign so he wouldn't damage the fund.

Spain’s finance chief Elena Salgado also spoke of solidarity with the woman Strauss-Kahn is accused of assaulting.

Strauss-Kahn now is being held without bail at New York's Rikers Island jail. He is expected to appear in court on Friday.

Strauss-Kahn's attorney said he denies the charges. Even if Strauss-Kahn is proved innocent, the IMF will approach this crisis as ruthlessly as a company would, said Robert Bennett. Bennett is the lawyer who represented President Bill Clinton in the Lewinsky case.

Bennett predicted that the board would have to make financial concessions to induce Strauss-Kahn to resign. They would say: 'We'll lose customers, the media will kill us, the women's movement will go crazy and whatever the claims he might have, we'll look responsible if we get rid of this guy,' Bennett said.

As talks arose about Strauss-Kahn's future, some began pressing that any discussions over his successor should not be restricted to Europe. China’s foreign ministry in a statement said the next IMF chief should be chosen on the basis of fairness, transparency and merit.

Among possible replacements for Strauss-Kahn are at least four fellow Europeans: French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde; the former head of the German central bank, Axel Weber; the head of Europe's bailout fund, Klaus Regling; and Peer Steinbrueck, a former German finance minister.

Candidates from elsewhere include Turkey's former finance minister, Kemal Dervis; Singapore's finance chief Tharman Shanmugaratnam; and Indian economist Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

Other possibilities include Trevor Manuel, South Africa's former finance minister; Mexico's central bank governor, Agustin Carstens; former Brazilian central bank president Arminio Fraga; and China's Min Zhu, a special adviser to Strauss-Kahn.

Meanwhile, the IMF’s second in command, John Lipsky, has been named the acting managing director. He has urged agency staff members to go about their business and to stay focused on global economic and financial problems. Despite Strauss-Kahn's arrest, the IMF says it is operating normally with deputy John Lipsky as the interim director.