International Monetary Fund Chief Economist Gita Gopinath is set to take over the role of first deputy Managing Director from Geoffrey Okamoto as the institution`s No. 2 official, the institution said Thursday. She is the first woman chief economist at the IMF. The move comes as a surprise because Gopinath had in October said that she planned to re-join Harvard University in January to retain her tenured facility post after three years of public service. The IMF in a statement said, “some realignment in the roles and responsibilities of the fund`s senior management team is being undertaken.” The first deputy managing director “will take the lead on surveillance and related policies, oversee research and flagship publications and help foster the highest-quality standards for fund publications,” the IMF said. Gopinath led the IMF`s research department through the pandemic era and a 2020 recession that was the worst peacetime decline since the Great Depression. She joined the Washington-based lender at the start of 2019, succeeding Maury Obstfeld, after having taught in Harvard`s economics department since 2005.