WASHINGTON, Nov 16 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund's European chief resigned on Wednesday, dealing a blow to the fund as European leaders continue to disagree over how to fight the continent's worsening debt crisis.
Antonio Borges, who was director of the IMF's European Department since November 2010, cited personal reasons in his decision to step down, effective immediately, the fund said.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde intends to appoint Reza Moghadam, currently director of the fund's strategy policy and review department, as Borges' successor, effective on Thursday, the fund said.
It provided no further details on Borges' decision. A Portuguese national, Borges is a former Goldman Sachs vice chairman in London who had served as chairman of the Hedge Funds Standards Board prior to joining the IMF.
Last month, Borges suggested publicly that the global lender could buy Spanish or Italian bonds alongside the euro zone's bailout fund. He then quickly backed away from the idea, saying the IMF could only lend its funds to countries and could not intervene in bond markets directly.
"Antonio Borges has led the European Department during an extremely difficult period for the region's Eurozone members," Lagarde said in a statement. "His vast public and private sector, and academic experience, combined with his ability to build strong relationships with member country authorities, have been of great value in responding to the crisis."
The IMF is part of a rescue "troika" in Europe, including the European Commission and the European Central Bank, that has battled the debt crisis for months. The three agencies have yet to persuade markets the situation in Greece is under control and there are sufficient resources to backstop larger economies such as Italy and Spain.
The IMF said Moghadam would be replaced in his strategy, policy and review job by Siddharth Tiwari, who currently serves as the IMF's secretary.