Amidst the stack of mindless articles carrying verbatim the Bank’s press release on Zoellick’s coronation, Steven Weisman’s piece for the New York Times stands out. He highlights one of the thorny issues that Zoellick will have to deal with – deciding whether Suzanne Rich Folsom, head of the department of institutional integrity, is doing a good job scaring bad corrupt Bank staff, or was doing a bad job of advancing the interests of the Wolfowitz coterie.
Krishna Guha reports in the FT that “at a four-hour meeting last Wednesday, the board grilled Mr Zoellick on leadership, strategy, corporate governance, the environment facing multilateral institutions and the independence of the Bank”. From my inside sources, all that ‘grilling’ revealed to most board members was how sorely they missed a second candidate. The FT is running an open blog on ‘what Zoellick’s priorities should be’ (well, we’ll see how long the FT keeps it open). Let’s hope Krishna keeps up the quality of reporting that he showed during the Wolfowitz debacle.
A few of my own questions…
Will the misdeeds of the rest of Wolfowitz’s political appointees be fully investigated?
Will the board urgently embark on the process of establishing performance evaluation systems for both the president and for themselves?
How will Zoellick and the board respond to the increasing question marks being raised about the impartiality of Paul Volcker’s review of INT? Surely the last two months have shown the need for a proper whistleblower policy.
And speaking of proper policies - will the laughable ‘investigation’ into board leaks be officially shut down and a review of the disclosure policy finally confront board secrecy – the real root of the problem?
Will Zoellick follow the good lead of De Rato at the IMF and declare his support for ending the presidential fix? This is perhaps the least important – though the most obvious – of a whole series of reforms which are needed if the Bank is to come anywhere near international standards of democratic accountability.