World Bank rules out change to leadership selection process

24 Aug 16

The World Bank has refused a staff request to overhaul its leadership selection process as current president Jim Yong Kim sets his eyes on a second five-year term.


Kim was formerly a vocal critic of the bank but his stewardship has proven controversial for many staff members. He reportedly lodged his formal bid for the presidency with the board. According to Reuters, the board will follow the criteria adopted for the 2012 leadership selection process again when Kim’s term ends next year.

“I have informed the Dean of the Board that I would be honoured to be considered for a second term as head of the World Bank and continue to work with its dedicated staff,” Kim, who is backed by the US, said.

“Together we have accomplished much over the past four years and I would be proud to carry on this important work.”

The news will come as a disappointment to some of Kim’s staff however. He pushed through a restructuring process, under which many staff lost their jobs, and there have been other controversies around his leadership style and decisions.

The bank’s influential staff association wrote a letter to its board earlier this month said the bank was suffering from a “crisis of leadership” and called for a more “open, merit-based and transparent process” in the leadership elections for the first time.

It criticised the fact that leaders selected in “back-room deals” have repeatedly been American and male, and called for a selection process that reflects the principles of internationalism, diversity and good governance preached by the banks.

The 2012 selection process included candidates from outside the US for the first time, but “reverted to the status quo”, the staff association said. This bank confirmed that this process will be used in the next selection round.

Nominations for other candidates to challenge Kim, whose term ends in June 2017, will open tomorrow and close on 14 September. The board will then select a president from among the nominees. 

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