Christine Lagarde: Leadership in times of crisis

Speech by Ms Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, at Manager Magazin's Top100 women in German Business, Hamburg, 27 April 2022.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
28 April 2022

Russia's brutal war against Ukraine marks a dark moment for Europe. Events that we thought were consigned to history have once again become a deeply troubling reality on our continent.

The invasion of Ukraine is first and foremost a human tragedy. Lives and livelihoods have been lost. Cities have been levelled. And millions of Ukrainians are now seeking refuge from the violence that has engulfed their nation.

Our world has changed dramatically in just two short months. Indeed, the war has heightened the sense that our world is in constant flux.

Some say that we live in an age of "permacrisis", where we move seamlessly from one emergency to the next. In just over a decade, we have faced the largest financial crisis since the 1930s, the worst pandemic since 1919, and now the most serious geopolitical crisis in Europe since the end of the Cold War.

As business leaders, all of you here are grappling with the effects of these multiple crises in one form or another – be it the burden of supply chain disruptions, high energy prices, or general uncertainty about the economic outlook. So how can we navigate through these uncertain times? How can we lead others when the path ahead is so obscured?

There are no easy answers. But I would like to highlight two courses of action that can help us – as leaders, and as women – to shine a light through this murky landscape.