The U.S. nominee for World Bank president will be David Malpass, the current Under Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Treasury, Politico reports.
The nomination comes as a blow to the many voices calling for a woman to take the helm for the first time in the organization’s 74-year history, including Council on Foreign Relations fellows Meighan Stone and Rachel Vogelstein. Writing in Fortune on January 10, they laid out the case for a female president, stating: “In boardrooms and C-suites around the world, diversity is simply good business.”
“The [International Monetary Fund] IMF shattered its glass ceiling by appointing its first female head in 2011, France’s Christine Lagarde,” the pair added. “If the World Bank—with its unparalleled resources, network, and influence—cannot find a single qualified woman to lead, what hope is there for women working their way up in offices and parliaments globally?”
Bulgarian Kristalina Georgieva has held the post of interim World Bank president since the sudden resignation of Jim Yong Kim in early January, three years ahead of the end of his term. White House officials did consider former Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi, according to anonymous sources quoted by the New York Times, but Malpass was ultimately selected because he “shares the president’s views,” an anonymous official told CNBC.
“Malpass knows the World Bank senior staff and a lot of the senior staff support him,” added the source.
The official nomination season opens Thursday but the U.S. government began notifying other World Bank shareholders of its plans to appoint Malpass on Monday, Reuters reports. The previous 11 presidents have all been Americans thanks to an informal arrangement in which European governments choose the head of the IMF and the U.S. selects the head of the World Bank. In another bid for diversity, several senior international economists have called for anyone other than an American to lead the bank.
Malpass called international institutions including the World Bank “intrusive” in 2017 but secured additional funding for it last year contingent on reforms such as graduating middle-income countries to private lenders in place of the World Bank, so that it can focus on the poorest countries. One barrier is China, which wants to continue tapping the Bank’s funds.
Nominations are open through March 14th.