Robert Zoellick is to step down from the helm of the World Bank in June after a turbulent five-year stint for the global economy under his presidency.
Mr Zoellick – appointed by the President George W Bush in 2007 – oversaw a major $5.1bn increase in the development bank’s coffers to meet a huge surge in loan requests from struggling nations in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. He said it was a “natural time to move on”.
His departure immediately triggered speculation over his successor with Larry Summers – Bill Clinton’s former Treasury Secretary and Barack Obama’s one time economic adviser – a leading candidate. Its former chief economist, Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz has also been mooted as a contender.
Under a gentlemen’s agreement struck nearly 70 years ago an American has always led the World Bank and a European has led the IMF, although the charity Oxfam yesterday called for the carve-up to end.
A spokeswoman said: “The way the World Bank picks its president needs to change. The bank only operates in developing countries, so any candidate not supported by a majority of these countries would plainly lack legitimacy.”