who will be next World Bank President What will they do


More invective about Palacio. Worldbankpresident.org received the following about Wolfowitz-appointee general legal counsel Ana Palacio from someone who claims to be a World Bank staffer - "sent anonymously for fear of reprisal".

She is known to be overbearing and yell on a regular basis even at the
"charming young spanish woman" as you succintly called her on your website, Elena Segura. She is known to intimidate people by mentioning her proximity to the President. Her conduct can only be characterized as unprofessional. Since the time she has been holding the position, two members of her inmediate staff have left after very short periods on the basis of "untenable working conditions".

It would be interesting for you to find out what has she done in substance since she assumed her position last August. Chances are you'll find out not much except destroying people's careers without due process and belittling the former General Counsel's accomplishments. Throughout the Bank, staff find her absent, incoherent, rude and simply not fitted for the job.

Does this account fit with your experience? Comment below or send your comments anonymously to contact@worldbankpresident.org

[Note: Thanks to 'Hector Oliden' for commenting on a previous posting on Ana Palacio, asserting that Palacio's senior legal counsel Elena Segura graduated in 1998. While we have been unable to verify this against earlier evidence which suggested she finished her law studies in 2005, we appreciate all information in getting to the bottom of the actions of Wolfowitz appointees. Perhaps Ms Segura would like to put the matter to rest?]

Jeff Powell ~ May 15, 2007


Character assassination continues. I particularly love the vague representations and self-serving part about "fear of reprisals." All we need is black helicopters to make it complete.

DC Worker ~ May 15, 2007, 09:40 PM

What I find surprising is this website's uncritical approval of all anti-Wolfowitz propoganda even if it means listening to hypocritical leaks from Bank staffers!
Maybe the real truth is that the Wolfowitz scandal is not an exception to the rule but the rule at the World Bank. Wolfowitz just happens to be terribly unpopular and hence, the victim of a witch-hunt. How about asking for a complete and independent audit of a sample of HR promotions from the last fifteen years - not by an internal Bank unit but by a respected independent auditor. Lets open the whole Pandora's box of corruption at the unaccountable institution that is the World Bank.

anonymous ~ May 15, 2007, 10:20 PM

I am a WB staff. My contacts are very close to Palacio’s office. Since joining the WB, Ms. Palacio has done very little for the Bank itself. Instead, she has used Bank’s resources to work hard on her political career, using WB staff and WB money for her personal and political goals. For example, she has traveled using WB money to her own travel destinations (Spain, Paris for a Foundation’s Board meeting, Israel for a Conference with former Spanish PM Aznar, Rome for a meeting with Italian PM Prodi etc.); at the moment of defining who pays for her travel, Palacio says to Ana Segura, who – despite her WB rank of “Senior Counsel” just manages her agenda – “just add a visit to the local WB office so we make it an official visit, hence the WB pays for it”. Also, Palacio has written OpEds (actually, her staff wrote them – she does not write, and they were published under Palacio’s name, no recognition for the staff) on political issues (this is forbidden under WB rules). Most importantly, Palacio has re-organized the Legal Department in a very confused way, with the only goal and outcome of concentrating power in her hands (she has sidelined a deputy, etc.). She is a control freak, in private she screams all day to people who have the misfortune to work with her, and in public she smiles to the media. A few people in her office have left. Those left want to leave. The only one who is faitful is the agenda-maker Segura, who is a very obedient servant (and she gets a lot as a payback, i.e. a ssenior job at the WB). Palacio is childishly obsessed with her CV, which is way over inflated (she constantly promoted herself); actually, many WB lawyers doubt her real legal competence. Palacio is hyper-loyal to Wolfowitz, and a very good friend of Riza (they go for dinner often, and have each-other cell number). She has tried to defend Riza with the board, attacking the leaks. Riza has called Palacio often. In my view Palacio must go with Wolfowitz. I propose we send them to iaraq. They have to take their responsibilities, shouldn’t they?

the truth on Palacio ~ May 15, 2007, 10:34 PM

Right on. Or, more importantly, how about an independent audit of all World Bank projects in a particular region/country/sector/portfolio? The last time we had that discussion, officials admitted that any such audit was likely to conclude that a high number of projects - as many as one third - were likely to simply not exist. That is, they're projects on paper, money went out the door, but nothing ever got done on the ground...

Sameer Dossani ~ May 15, 2007, 10:35 PM

I a Bank staffer. I fully agree: HR promotions should be independently audited. I have been in a few selection panels and I can assure you that there is no competition: you go in to interview fully knowing who you should choose: the candidate the boss told you to chose. This is so disgusting - and unfortunately true - that I made clear I do not want to be in a panel anymore. I feel horrible after interviewing people that have no change, and more than that i feel horrible seeing how my colleagues in the panel - as diligent soldiers - ask the difficult questions to the "wrong" candidates and applaud every answer of the "right" candidate, to get their bosses' satisfied smile.

WB staff ~ May 15, 2007, 10:43 PM

Staff: You mean merit promotions? Excellent idea. First thing you do with that is throw out the nation-state quotas, then the sex quotas, and promote based on pure merit.

That would go over wonderfully (tongue in cheek).

DC Worker ~ May 15, 2007, 10:46 PM

I agree with you DC worker. Promotions should happen on merit. Unfortunately, at the moment that is impossible at the WB. My view is the following: while I favor Wolfowitz departure, I want him out because he has proven a weak leader - with no knowledge of the business, no strategically sense and no management skill- i.e. he is not up to the job (I want a … demotion on merit, again). I do not want him out because of the “scandal”; to be clear, the Riza affair disgusts and demoralizes me. But if we are frank with ourselves in the World Bank, we have to admit that Wolfowitz departure will not fix the “scandalous” behaviors. Everybody knows that in the Institution promotions happen NOT on merit; you get promoted if you faithfully serve the right boss, etc. I am dismayed and disgusted when I see that Country Directors – many of whom have practiced the same scandalous HR selection and promotion process a’ la Wolfowitz (I really would like to name names, but I have to be professional) – now scream in the name of ethics. The same applies to the list of Former WB Managers who wrote the letter to the FT. These guys have more WB blood on their hands than Worlfowitz. Bottom line, Wolfowitz has to go, he is not up to the job. But if we want to restore staff trust in the institution we need to severely reform the WB, be more transparent, starting from HR and promotion practices.
P.S. In the previous post I meant: "I feel horrible after interviewing people that have no chance".

WB staff ~ May 15, 2007, 10:59 PM

to "the truth on Palacio": your description of palacio sounds like the description of every other high-level executive at the world bank!

An audit of Bank projects! What a great idea - I wonder if the morally righteous Bank staff who have been parading their 'more moral than thou' approach over this scandal will support that. How about a trade: Wolfowitz resigns if there is an audit of Bank projects by a International Audit Team that is not a product of 'incestous' bank relationships.

anonymous ~ May 15, 2007, 11:09 PM

As a governance specialist at WB said: "everyone is naked in this jacuzzi"!

Washingtonian ~ May 15, 2007, 11:26 PM

Project auditing? Sounds good. But try to put some bones on that idea.

Who should do the audits? The United Nations? The BIS? Or the regular (sometimes corrupt) auditing firms we alll know?
Who devises the audit parameters? the NGOs?
How do you evaluate the quality of the audits?

Should the auditing firms be selected by International Competitive Bidding, who selects them at the end?

Maybe you need a new International Financial Institution Regulatory and Auditing Institution Agency based in Washington. Funded by the governments and which could be completely independent. Not!

Or be a part of the IMF, work like the super regulator of all Multilateral lending institutions.

Careful it does not get added to the World Bank Group, IBRD,IFC,IDA,ICSID,MIGA...IFIRAI

Pursue that idea.

Save an Accountant.

Retired Auditor ~ May 15, 2007, 11:49 PM

This new one from the Guardian is real good:


anon ~ May 16, 2007, 02:27 AM

I totally agree, Wolfie departure should not be the end of the story, we need to reform the governance framework. Things that are going on in this institutions disgust me and I wonder how low can people can go to sastisfy their career objectives... but everytime I wonder someone does something even lower than expected.

GRANDMECHANTLOUP ~ May 16, 2007, 02:48 AM

State Department is finally getting around to investigating wolfowitz. With condi rice on the record as calling up foreign ministers to plead for this guy, i say nothing happens:


anon ~ May 16, 2007, 02:49 AM

Wait.... how do we know Rice is calling up Foreign Ministers to plead for this guy?

What if she is really calling them to lobby for herself as the next President of the World Bank?

She saw their pay scales, figured that she can't get the job as PW's girlfriend, and decide to go for the Gold!!!!!

She figured she has all the paper qualifications, PhD, professor, etc!!!!

None ~ May 16, 2007, 01:13 PM

You know, the more all of us who have the extreme good fortune not to work in the WB read these employee comments, the more the place looks like something out of Lord of the Flies. It's like the plane has wrecked, and the children are running around the island saying nasty things about their bosses behind their backs, slaughtering pigs and slaying each other. All we need next is a head for worship (but Tony Blair by what I have read may have already taken that position).

You want to reform the WB? The first thing I would do is terminate the biggest whiners for a culture change.

DC Worker ~ May 16, 2007, 04:21 PM

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