About Jesse Griffiths

Director of the European Network on Debt and Development, Eurodad www.eurodad.org

Campaigners demand fair selection process as Zoellick finally says he will step down

Increased rumours this week proved to be right as Zoellick just announced today that he will step down at the end of his first term as World Bank president, on 30 June. Reacting to the announcement, a global coalition of campaigners has issued an open letter to World Bank governors calling for an open and merit-based process to elect the next Bank president, and for developing countries to determine the selection: Continue reading

Poll: who should be the next World Bank president?

The US has monopolised the Bank presidency since 1944, but leadership selection at the International Financial Institutions is becoming increasingly contested. There have been repeated promises by the Bank to open up the process and select candidates based on merit, in a fair and transparent way. As developing countries become increasingly confident and assertive this could be the year that sees the emergence of a real challenge against the US hold over the position.

But who would the credible candidates be?  Below are nine heavy-weight possible candidates from developing countries. Who do you think would be the best for the job?

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Continue reading

When will it all kick off?

Succession planning is already underway at World Bank, the media have speculated at length about possible replacements, and Zoellick continues to tantalise Bankwatchers by keeping mum.  But hold on, this is the wrong way round, isn’t it?

Zoellick was selected in 2007, the year before the Bank’s governors, the G20 and virtually every related international institution you can think of began repeatedly promising we’d have a merit-based process next time. Well, next time is now.  No matter what Zoellick wants, the Bank’s board should organise a transparent process for his successor, even if Zoellick decides he wants another shot.

So, when should they do this?  Continue reading

How to prevent corruption – select based on merit, says World Bank…

Given common assumptions that the US will select the next President and there will be no merit-based selection process, I thought I’d check out what organisations that try to combat corruption thought of this idea.

Where better place to start than the institution that’s just launching a new governance and anti-corruption strategy, the same one that publishes worldwide governance indicators. Yes, it’s the World Bank. Continue reading

WB Presidential selection – what happens next?

Assuming the rumour mill is right and World Bank president Robert Zoellick will shortly announce that he’ll step down after one term (his time’s up in June) then, what happens next?

Well that depends on whether the Bank’s board lives up to its promises or not.  At least since October 2008, the World Bank development committee (Ministerial level executive board) has endorsed an “open, merit-based and transparent” selection process, “with nominations open to all Board members and transparent Board consideration of all candidates.”

You’ll notice the elephant though – no specific reference to ending US customary control over selection (so far there have been 11 World Bank Presidents – all men, all with US citizenship.) Rumours are already circulating on who the US government might be lining up as their candidate – Larry Summers now supplanting Hilary Clinton as the supposed front runner. But will the other 186 countries that are members of the Bank let this happen, or will they (or at least the developing countries who are the only ones who will have to live with World Bank policies and programmes) try and force the genuine contest that they’ve promised so many times?

The nitty gritty
Last spring, the Bank’s executive board endorsed a paper – summarised below – on Presidential selection [it was then ‘welcomed’ by the Ministers of the Bank’s development committee]. It is very short and fairly disappointing, detailing a very secretive process with no opportunity for external input, and a large amount of the detail – including the length of the process – left to be decided by the Board each time.

So surely it’s time to revisit this process and make some real improvements…. But where to look for ideas?  Thankfully a coalition of organisations published a comprehensive blueprint last year for IMF selection – nattily titled Heading for the right choice?

For the wonks – here’s the highlights from the April Board paper:

Qualification criteria:

  • “A proven track record of leadership;
  • Experience managing large organizations with international exposure, and a familiarity with the public sector;
  • Ability to articulate a clear vision of the Bank’s development mission;
  • A firm commitment to and appreciation for multilateral cooperation; and
  • Effective and diplomatic communication skills, impartiality and objectivity.”

Nomination procedure

  •  “Governors may nominate [candidates].”
  • “the length for the nomination period be clearly defined and communicated by the Board of Executive Directors in the context of a particular selection process.”

Shortlisting process

  • “The WG recommends a shortlisting process in circumstances where the number of candidates exceeds three … through … an informal straw poll … prior to formal voting.”

Confidentiality / secrecy

  • “The list of nominated candidates “would be held in confidence by the Board of Executive Directors”
  • “Once the Board arrives at a shortlist of candidates, the WBG would publish the names of those shortlisted candidates, with their consent.”

Interviews and selection

  • “formal interviews by the Board of Executive Directors be conducted for all shortlisted candidates”

We’re back!

Yes, Zoellick’s term is up this year, and the rumour mill is going into overdrive – most suggesting that he’s gonna step down so he can return to his first love: Republican Party politics.

So we’ve redesigned and relaunched your favourite blog site (check out all those social media buttons) where you can get all the news, views, and gossip about how his successor should be selected, who should get the job, and what their priorities should be. Multiple professor (at both Canadian and Indian universities) Sunil Chacko already got the ball rolling with a recent Huffington Post article.

Hear something interesting? Contact us

Enraged or excited by a post?  Why not comment on it, or become a blogger for the sight – here’s how to get involved.

So keep coming back to follow the battle for the Bank in real time!