Current managing director Christine Lagarde is taking over the top job at the European Central Bank and formally leaves the IMF on September 12. Remainer Mr Osborne has made no secret of his desire to replace her and has told friends he believes his contacts with US Republicans and China would make him a good fit amid the global financial turbulence caused by the trade war between Washington and Beijing. He is seen as something of an outsider for the job with UK Treasury sources suggesting EU member states would oppose the appointment of a Brit because of Brexit.
One insider said: “Nobody here thinks he has much of a chance.”
But Mr Osborne, who became editor of the Evening Standard newspaper after quitting the Commons, has suggested giving him the job would demonstrate Europe did not want to marginalise the UK after Brexit.
And he is also confident of receiving the endorsement of a potential Boris Johnson government after his paper backed the former foreign secretary in the Tory leadership contest.
The IMF has always been run by a European but another Treasury source suggested Mr Carney, who has Canadian/Irish citizenship, and has been a constant critic of Brexit, has a better chance than Mr Osborne.
The source said: “If it’s going to be anyone from here it will be Mark Carney. His Irish passport will help.”
Mr Carney is understood to be meeting US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and some European ministers in Paris to discuss replacing Ms Lagarde.
But both men will face stiff competition for the position with a shortlist who reportedly includes former Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem, European Investment Bank Vice President Alexander Stubb, Margrethe Vestager, the Danish EU competition commissioner, and World Bank number two Kristalina Georgieva, a former vice president of the European commission.
Ms Lagarde’s successor will be chosen by the IMF’s 24-strong executive board, which is dominated by advanced economies.
French finance minister Bruno Le Maire, who has ruled himself out of the running, said: “I hope we will be able to find a compromise candidate as soon as possible on the European candidate.”