World Bank Board Moving Ahead To Select Next President, U.S. Nominee Expected Soon, Sources Say

A participant stands near a logo of World Bank at the International Monetary Fund – World Bank Annual Meeting 2018 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, October 12, 2018.

The World Bank’s executive board is expected to release its selection criteria and timeline for picking a new president on Thursday after last week’s surprise news that David Malpass will leave the top job well before his contract ends in April 2024.

The 25-member board, under pressure to reform its operations to respond more aggressively to climate change and other global challenges, met for several hours on Wednesday to hammer out the details, two sources familiar with the process told Reuters.

The United States, the bank’s largest shareholder, which has been pressing for more ambitious and quicker reforms at the bank, could announce its nominee as early as Thursday, the sources said. Treasury officials had no immediate comment.

The United States has historically selected the president of the bank, but some developing countries and civil society groups are challenging that tradition.

It remains unclear if other countries will nominate their own candidates to lead the bank, which provides billions of dollars a year in funding for developing economies.

Malpass, a former Treasury official, was nominated by former U.S. President Donald Trump, and ran unopposed for the job.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who is in Bengaluru, India for a meeting of the Group of 20 major economies, last week said the United States would soon nominate a candidate and looked forward to a “transparent, merit-based and swift nomination process.”

Oxfam International and other civil society groups insist the process should be opened to more candidates to improve the credibility of the institution, while others say a woman should lead the bank for the first time in its 77-year-history.

A top minister in Germany, another of the bank’s largest shareholders, this week told Reuters the next president should be a woman, and underscored the need for the institution to tackle climate change as well as fight poverty.

Top contenders for the post include Samantha Power, who currently leads the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Barack Obama, and Rajiv Shah, former USAID administrator under Obama and currently president of the Rockefeller Foundation, a philanthropic group.

Reuters NEXT Newsmaker event in New York City
World Bank President David Malpass attends the Reuters NEXT Newsmaker event in New York City, New York, U.S., December 1, 2022.