Lazard, a financial advisory and asset management firm, has announced that Rodrigo de Rato is joining Lazard as a senior managing director of investment banking, effective February 1, 2008.

Mr Rato was most recently the managing director of the International Monetary Fund. He received a law degree at the Complutense University, an MBA at the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business and a PhD in economics at the University of Madrid.

Bruce Wasserstein, chairman and CEO of Lazard, said: Mr Rato brings an abundance of economic knowledge and relationships in both the private and public sectors due to his rich history of high profile finance positions. He will serve as a knowledgeable advisor to our clients, and will play an important strategic role for Lazard on a global level.