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World Bank to Pick New Leader by Meetings Starting April 20

Robert Zoellick
Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank. Photographer: Michele Tantussi/Bloomberg

The World Bank board of directors said it expects to pick a successor to President Robert Zoellick by the time of its April 20-22 meetings.

The Washington-based lender will accept nominations until March 23 and look for candidates with skills including “a proven track record of leadership” and “experience of managing large organizations with international exposure, and a familiarity with the public sector,” the institution said in an e-mailed statement.

While the bank promised a “merit-based and transparent” selection process, the president’s position has always been held by a U.S. citizen. The Obama administration said it will have a candidate “in the coming weeks.’

Zoellick, 58, said earlier this week he would step down when his five-year mandate ends June 30. Officials from Brazil and China pushed for a selection procedure that could lead to a president who is not a U.S. citizen.

The board will decide on a shortlist of up to three candidates, whom it will interview, the World Bank said in its statement today.

Other criteria include “the ability to articulate a clear vision of the World Bank Group’s development mission” and “effective and diplomatic communication skills, impartiality and objectivity in the performance of the responsibilities of the position” as well as “a firm commitment to and appreciation for multilateral cooperation.”

Emerging Markets

The campaign for the helm of an institution that made $57 billion in loans in the last fiscal year will test the capacity of emerging markets to close ranks behind a candidate eight months after they failed to line up behind an International Monetary Fund nominee. The U.S. grip on the job was part of an informal agreement that also has a European head the IMF.

Last year Christine Lagarde, then France’s finance minister, got picked to head the IMF over Mexican Central Bank Governor Agustin Carstens. The U.S. backed Lagarde at the end of the campaign.

-- Editors: Kevin Costelloe, James Tyson

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