What are the odds? And where are the Chinese?

We’ve been waiting with bated breath for the odds makers to get active. After all, free-market thinkers tell us that the market always has the best outcomes and sets the right prices. So surely speculation on this blog, and elsewhere in the media, will be wrong and the market will be right. Finally, yesterday, Paddy Power, an Irish bookmaker (betting site), answered the call. Of course they weren’t the only ones; John Cassidy of the New Yorker made up his own odds last weekend. But Paddy Power, with odds set by the frequency of bets, should give us the pulse of the market. Will they be right?

A review of the odds as of 21 Feb:

Larry Summers  4/11
Susan Rice  9/2
Hillary Clinton  9/2
Kemal Dervis  9/1
Tim Geithner  9/1
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala  20/1
Trevor Manuel  20/1
Lula da Silva  20/1
Agustin Carstens  25/1
Stanley Fischer  25/1
Sri Mulyani Indrawati  40/1
Ernesto Zedillo  40/1
Luisa Diogo  66/1
Jairam Ramesh  66/1
Bill Clinton  66/1
Josef Ackermann  80/1
Michelle Bachelet  80/1
Fernando Henrique Cardoso  80/1
Marina Silva  100/1
Gordon Brown  100/1
Axel Weber  100/1
Tony Blair  150/1
Andrew Sheng  150/1
Mo Ibrahim  150/1 

Of course this could all change. A few on the Paddy Power list have already expressed interest in having the job, others have said they don’t want it. And all the candidates in our poll are there.

But the notable missing element of the list is anyone from China. The closest you get is an ethnic Chinese from Malaysia, Andrew Sheng, who serves as an advisor for the China Banking Regulatory Commission. Having shared a podium with Andrew, I know he is a great thinker, especially on issues related to the financial sector and regulation. But would his appointment to a post satisfy the Chinese? Even if China is playing the long game and aiming for other posts, as discussed on another blog, we should be seeing names on who might be put up for a position. Despite not being a huge expert in matters of Chinese Communist Party personalities (and of course jobs in the party are being reshuffled this year), I want to see some names. I thought of three people the Chinese might nominate for a post – maybe the presidency itself, or a new managing director position opened up as a payback for Chinese support for an American president. Some ideas:

Name Background
Li Ruogu Currently the Chairman & President of China Eximbank. He served as Deputy Division Chief, Division Chief, Deputy Director General, Acting Director General, Assistant Governor, and Deputy Governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), Alternate Governor of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for China, Alternate Governor of the African Development Bank (AfDB) for China, Alternate Governor of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for China, and Alternate Governor of the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank) for China. In the period from 2003 to 2005, He also served as Economist of IMF for Asia, Executive Director of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for China, President of the Budget Review Committee of ADB and Commissioner of the Board Compliance Review Committee of ADB.
Sha Zukang A career diplomat, he currently is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and in 2010 was appointed Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). He held a number of roles with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) as China’s representative there as well as Chairperson of the Government group of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization from 2002 to 2003, and member of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament matters from 1994 to 1999. Mr. Sha Zukang established the Department of Arms Control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and became its first Director-General. His postings in diplomatic missions abroad included London, Colombo, New Delhi, New York and Geneva. Prior to assuming his present position in the United Nations, he was Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
Yi Gang Currerently the Deputy Governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and Administrator of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE). Yi has much less international organisation experience, but is a powerful voice in China’s financial bureaucracy. He has been at the PBOC since 1997 in the monetary policy committee and as the director-general of the monetary policy department before coming assistant governor, then deputy governor. Prior to that he was an assistant professor of economics at Indiana University, Indianapolis and then professor at Peking University.

Any other thought on who China might put forward?

13 thoughts on “What are the odds? And where are the Chinese?

  1. Pingback: What are the odds? And where are the Chinese? | World Bank … | NGO Directory

  2. What about Shengman Zhang, former Managing Director of the Bank? Hard to get him to leave his current gig, but very well respected and certainly a good fit for the job.

    • Yes thats a good one. But he wouldn’t come back to be a managing director again. Would have to be the presidency for him. And it would likely mean a massive pay cut…

  3. Tim Geithner is a current Governor of the World Bank. He is excluded from consideration for nomination to WB President. The author cited does not even know that Governors and Alternate Governors are excluded from the race to become the next Bank President.

    • Of course, should Geithner decide he wants the job and gets the nod from Obama, he need only resign as Treasury Secretary. I am sure Geithner will find a way to pay his bills despite being unemployed from March to July.

  4. What about Justin Yifu Lin? He is currently Chief Economist and was the first in that role from a developing country. That said, I have no idea what kind of power he has within the CCP, which I imagine would be a big part of who is put forward — if China puts anyone forward.

    I doubt the Chinese will put a name forward if there’s a chance it won’t be a clear win given the general trepidation to take visible leadership in the international sphere that we’ve seen. Have they ever put a name forward for a leadership contest and lost? It would look like a game changer to me if it happens.

    Interesting speculation on a potential new MD spot as compensation too. I could see that being the side-payment this time if the US keeps the spot but sees some challenging behind the scenes.

  5. In my opinion, next world bank president should be from Indonesia. I will vote for Sri Mulyani Indrawati, She is competent for this position.

  6. Pingback: Poll closing: last chance to vote on next World Bank President! | World Bank President

  7. I choose Mrs. Sri Mulyani Idrawati because she is the only person that I can trust to manage my country Indonesia. She has a good integritybut the most important one is her Attitude towards among other leaders.

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