FRANCE – Christine Lagarde has resigned as a member of ING Group’s 12-strong supervisory board, after only two months to become France’s new minister for foreign trade.

Lagarde, who also a partner at the Paris office of law firm Baker & McKenzie,has taken up her new role with immediate effect.

ING spokesman Peter Jong told IPE that Lagarde, who joined the firm in late April, would be replaced at the company’s next annual general meeting in April 2006.

“ING regrets Christine Lagarde’s resignation, but sends her its sincerest congratulations and wishes her well in new position,” the Dutch firm said in a statement.

She has been member of Baker & McKenzie’s executive committee since 1995, had chaired the committee for five years and was named chairman of the policy committee in October.

Lagarde also served as chairman of the European Regional Council and the Professional Development Committee from 1995 to 1998.

“She remains among only a handful of women ever to lead a major international law firm,” Baker & McKenzie said in a statement.

Last year Lagarde was named the 76th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine and in 2002 she was voted the fifth most successful business woman in Europe by the Wall Street Journal Europe.