American is selected as World Bank president
BY MARTIN CRUTSINGER Associated Press
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
4/17/12 at 6:58 AM
WASHINGTON - Jim Yong Kim, an American who is president of Dartmouth College, has been chosen to be the next president of the World Bank. His selection extends the U.S. hold on the top job at the 187-nation development agency.
Kim, a surprise nominee of President Barack Obama, was selected Monday in a vote by the World Bank's 25-member executive board. He'll succeed Robert Zoellick, who's stepping down after a five-year term.
Developing nations waged an unsuccessful challenge to Kim, 52, a physician and pioneer in treating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in the developing world.
Kim's selection marks a break from previous World Bank leaders who were typically political, legal or economic figures. The World Bank raises money from its member nations and borrows from investors to provide low-cost loans to developing countries.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner praised the selection, saying Kim "has a lifetime of experience solving complex problems." He said Kim "will help breathe new life into the World Bank's efforts" to promote economic growth around the world.
Developing countries had put forward two candidates for the post: Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo. Both argued that it was time to break the hold the United States has had on the World Bank job and provide a greater voice for developing nations. On Friday, Ocampo announced that he was withdrawing and throwing his support to Okonjo-Iweala.
The World Bank didn't reveal the board's vote. But it said "the final nominees received support from different member countries" - indicating that Kim's selection was not unanimous.
Kim will begin a five-year term in July. Born in South Korea, Kim is an American who moved to the United States with his family at age 5. His selection extends the tradition of Americans leading the World Bank dating to the institution's founding in 1944.
He and the other candidates were interviewed by the World Bank's board last week. In his statement to the board, Kim said he had worked throughout his career for "reform and change" and would continue those efforts at the World Bank.
President Barack Obama introduces Jim Yong Kim, who was selected Monday to head the World Bank. ANDREW HARRER / Bloomberg