Candidates line up to succeed Wolfensohn as World Bank chief

Poverty action groups urged the US government yesterday to open up the selection process for a new head of the World Bank after James Wolfensohn said he would stand down as president next year.

Mr Wolfensohn ended months of speculation by telling the Bush administration he would not seek a third five-year term, triggering a hunt for a replacement for the top job at the global lender.

The post has traditionally gone to an American under an unwritten agreement that sees a European take the top job of the International Monetary Fund, its sister organisation.

The news sparked renewed speculation over whom a Republican administration would want to head an organisation that lends $20bn (£10.5bn) to some of the world's poorest and most volatile nations. Among those rumoured was Robert Zoellick, the US Trade Representative (USTR), although he has repeatedly refused to say whether he even intends to step down from his current job.

Colin Powell, who will soon quit as US Secretary of State, has been mentioned as a candidate but has not expressed strong interest. Others possibilities include Carla Hills, another former USTR; John Taylor, the Treasury Under-Secretary for International Affairs; Jack Hennessy, the former chief executive of CSFB; and Christine Todd Whitman, the director of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Developing countries are expected to push for a broader range of candidates and contend that the practice of giving the presidency to an American is outdated.

Dave Timms, a spokesman for the World Development Movement, said: "A stitch-up behind the scenes that chooses is just outrageous. Choosing the head of this sort of institution by Buggins' turn is absolutely wrong."

Romilly Greenhill, the UK policy officer at Action Aid, said: "Priority should be given to developing world candidates because they are going to know much better what the IMF and World Bank policies mean on the ground." The UK Department for International Development said it stood by its White Paper that called for "open and competitive processes" to select top international posts.

There was anger last year when the job of head of the IMF went to Rodrigo Rato, a Spaniard, despite competition from developing countries' candidates. Rob Nichols, a US Treasury spokesman, said the selection process for Mr Wolfensohn's successor would be "open and transparent and collaborative".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'