Talking about the future of the Bank

The latest Washington Post report on the heating up campaign talks about competition for the job.  It does not say that an American won’t be chosen.  It speaks to some World Bank executive directors wanting to make the selection “competitive”. This is not a bad thing because it will legitimize the selection of the American who is put forward.

But in the continuing obsession with the process Continue reading

Criteria for choosing Zoellick’s successor

After former World Bank Executive Director Moises Naim weighed in with ‘critical tips’, thoughtful commentary in the FT by former World Bank Vice Presidents, academics Ian Goldin and Danny Leipziger, and a robust rejoinder to Goldin from former World Bank staff member Percy Mistry highlight the issues the world should expect the World Bank’s owners and board to take into account as they prepare a shortlist of three, interview candidates, and select “by consensus” Robert Zoellick’s successor.

Taken together, these contributions enrich the rather bland criteria set out by the board in its announcement of what it will take into account.

What these four notes address is the Bank’s relevance in the modern world. All four hint, or say quite broadly, that there’s a problem, and that ‘something needs to be done’. Continue reading

Good Advice from Center for Global Development’s Nancy Birdsall

In a CGD “wonkcast”, Nancy Birdsall sets out some excellent criteria for the next World Bank president.

Ability to “corral” the World Bank’s resident, 25-person board onto a new agenda, including perhaps letting loose their grip on how the Bank runs, day-to-day, will be key.  This will involve personal and persuasive skills that the Bank has not seen much in evidence since Jim Wolfensohn’s departure nearly seven years ago.  Admittedly, Wolfensohn had a rocky start, and a stormy relationship with the Executive Directors at times, but once he realized that “what’s good for the Bank is good for Jim Wolfensohn, and vice versa” he moved the Bank to a new level of respect and effectiveness, with a Board that was fully behind him. Continue reading

Wasting time talking about people

There has been endless speculation in the media, fueled by CSO activism bordering on fantasy and hissy-fits, about names rumored and leaked to be in the running to replace Robert Zoellick on July 1.

Now is the time to tell the owners of the Bank, who will nominate candidates, and the Board, who will choose from among the three they shortlist, what profile the next World Bank president should have, beyond the generic criteria that the Development Committee endorsed. Continue reading

Getting ready to pick the next World Bank President

Robert Zoellick’s article in Foreign Affairs “Why We Still Need the World Bank” was intended to be a flattering account of the Bank’s achievements during his time as its president.  Correlation is not, of course, causality, but as the World Bank’s Board gets ready to select his successor from a shortlist of three nominees, it’s time to look more closely at what’s missing. Continue reading