Trump interviewed Ted Cruz’s wife for job as World Bank president

India and China's growth and power is driving support for a non-American candidate

Jennifer Jacobs,Andrew Mayeda,Saleha Mohsin
Thursday 31 January 2019 13:32 GMT
US Senator Ted Cruz speaks as wife Heidi Cruz (R) looks on during a Women for Cruz rally on 3 November 2018 in Houston, Texas.
US Senator Ted Cruz speaks as wife Heidi Cruz (R) looks on during a Women for Cruz rally on 3 November 2018 in Houston, Texas. ((Justin Sullivan/Getty Images))

Donald Trump interviewed Heidi Cruz – wife of Texan senator Ted Cruz – for World Bank president but is not now considering giving her the job, people familiar with the matter have said.

Treasury Undersecretary David Malpass remains the clear frontrunner for the job, but Mr Trump has continued to consider others, including Ms Cruz and prominent investor Mohamed El-Erian, the people said.

A decision could come as soon as this week, one of the people said.

Ms Cruz, a Goldman Sachs managing director, was head of the Houston office before she took unpaid leave to help her husband’s ultimately unsuccessful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

But Ms Cruz and Mr Trump have a complicated past: She was thrust briefly into the spotlight during the campaign when Mr Trump tweeted an unflattering image of her and disparaged her appearance.

A Harvard Business School graduate, she joined Goldman Sachs in 2005 and was promoted to managing director, the company’s second-highest rank, in 2012.

During the George W Bush administration, she worked for the National Security Council and ran the Latin American group at the Treasury Department.

Ted Cruz drew boos at the Republican National Convention in July 2016, when he stopped short of endorsing Mr Trump. Security officers escorted Heidi Cruz out of the arena after the speech as at least one Trump supporter shouted “Goldman Sachs” at her, CNN reported at the time.

Mr Cruz later reversed his position and endorsed Mr Trump. Heidi Cruz returned to Goldman Sachs after the campaign.

Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for Ted Cruz, said: “It was an honour for Heidi to be considered by the administration as a finalist for president of the World Bank.”

Ted Cruz booed at RNC Convention

Mr El-Erian, 60, who also met with White House officials about the job, is a respected voice on the global economy and international financial markets.

He is chief economic adviser at Allianz, and previously served as chief executive and co-chief investment officer at Pimco and an economist at the International Monetary Fund.

Other candidates for the World Bank post include Ray Washburne, head of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; Mark Green, head of the US Agency for International Development; Robert Kimmitt, a former senior US Treasury official, and Pepsico Inc. Chairman Indra Nooyi, the people familiar with the matter said.

The World Bank’s executive board oversees the selection of a new president and has invited member nations to put forward nominees between 7 February and 14 March. There appears to be little appetite outside the US to challenge Mr Trump’s choice for president of the bank - traditionally led by an American and as long as he selects someone credible - according to two people familiar with the matter.

Jim Yong Kim announced this month he’s leaving as president of the World Bank Group more than three years early to become vice chairman at investment firm Global Infrastructure Partners. The bank’s second in command, Kristalina Georgieva, will take over on an interim basis on 1 February.

Mr Kim’s departure has reignited debate about the mission of the bank and America’s role as its biggest shareholder. Under an informal trans-Atlantic pact, an American has always run the World Bank while the managing director of its sister institution, the IMF, has always been European.

But the rising clout of countries such as China and India is driving support for a non-American candidate. “The changing global economic landscape makes the convention outdated. There are many excellent potential candidates across the globe, just as there probably are in the US,” former US IMF executive director and Treasury official Mark Sobel said in a recent article.

The bank’s executive board will publish a short list of three candidates and aims to pick a new president by mid-April. The ideal candidate would have experience managing large organisations, a vision for the World Bank’s development mission and a commitment to international cooperation, the board has said.


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