Shamshad Akhtar, formerly a senior official at the Asian Development Bank, was named in December as the 14th governor of the State Bank of Pakistan since its inception in July 1948.

 

In a statement, the bank said: "She brings rich experience, both national and international, to her new assignment."

 

A Fulbright scholar at Harvard and visiting fellow at the university's economics department, Akhtar replaces Ishrat Hussain, who retired last month after serving six years.

 

Akhtar worked as an economist for the World Bank for 10 years at its Pakistani resident mission.

 

She then worked as director-general of the Manila-based Asian Development Bank's Southeast Asia department since 2004.

 

Women's rights groups in socially and religiously conservative Pakistan have hailed Akhtar's appointment as a positive step.