World Bank president Jim Yong Kim to step down

Korean-American doctor and anthropologist leaves amid differences with Trump administration over climate change

Monday 07 January 2019 22:46 GMT
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Donald Trump will wield strong influence in choosing Mr Kim's successor as the United States holds a controlling share of the World Bank's voting rights
Donald Trump will wield strong influence in choosing Mr Kim's successor as the United States holds a controlling share of the World Bank's voting rights (Getty)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim has unexpectedly resigned more than three years before his term ends in 2022, amid differences with the Trump administration over climate change and the need for more development resources.

Mr Kim, nominated by former US president Barack Obama for two five-year terms, had pushed financing for green energy projects and largely dropped support for coal power investments, but had avoided public clashes with the Trump administration, which has made reviving the US coal sector a priority.

He told World Bank employees in an email that he was leaving the world's largest lender and donor to poor and middle-income countries on 1 February to join a private-sector firm focused on infrastructure investments in the developing world.

"The opportunity to join the private sector was unexpected, but I've concluded that this is the path through which I will be able to make the largest impact on major global issues like climate change and the infrastructure deficit in emerging markets," Mr Kim said.

Kristalina Georgieva, who in 2017 became the World Bank's chief executive officer, will assume the role of interim president.

Two people familiar with Mr Kim's shock announcement to the World Bank executive board said he was leaving of his own accord and was "not pushed out" by the Trump administration.

President Donald Trump, however, will wield strong influence in choosing Kim's successor as the United States holds a controlling share of the World Bank's voting rights.

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A spokeswoman for the US Treasury, which oversees the US voting interest in the World Bank, said: "We appreciate Mr Kim's service to the World Bank."

She added that treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, "looks forward to working with his fellow governors in selecting a new leader.

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