Work Bank names European Commission budget chief to senior post

1 Nov 16

The World Bank has appointed the European Commission’s vice president for budget and human resources to the newly created role of chief executive.


Kristalina Georgieva, European commissioner for budget and human resources. Credit: European Union

Kristalina Georgieva, European commissioner for budget and human resources, has entered the race to become United Nations secretary general. Credit: European Union


Kristalina Georgieva, a Bulgarian politician who has also overseen the EU’s humanitarian aid and who recently lost a bid to become United Nations secretary general, will take up the post in January.

After serving in numerous roles at the bank between 1993 and 2010, Georgieva will rejoin the organisation amid a tumultuous period, as the bank faces a backlash from member states and the public against its perceived skew towards richer states. In addition, staff have raised concerns about the leadership style of bank president Jim Yong Kim, who has been reappointed for another five year term.

In her new role, Georgieva  will be the chief executive of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association, the two lending arms that make up the World Bank.

Announcing her appointment last week, Kim said Georgieva would be the “strongest possible champion for the work of our dedicated staff in addressing the complex challenges faced by our partner countries”.

“Kristalina is a globally recognised leader with a proven track record in improving the lives of those in need,” he continued. “As humanitarian aid commissioner, Kristalina established herself as a global champion for the concept of resilience.

“Helping countries manage global shocks and threats is at the core of the World Bank’s efforts to end poverty and boost shared prosperity.”

Georgieva’s previous positions at the bank focused on economics and sustainable development, and included spells as vice president for corporate secretariat, where she served as the contact between the bank’s senior management, board of directors and shareholder countries.

She has also served as co-chair of the UN secretary general’s high level panel on humanitarian financing, where the bank said she secured a more effective financing system to meet the needs of vulnerable people.

In her current role at the European Commission, Georgieva is in charge of the EU’s €161 ($175bn) budget and 33,000 staff.

The bank said that as vice president of budget and human resources Georgieva tripled funding available for the refugee crisis in Europe and drove “rapid” progress towards achieving a target of 40% women in commission management by 2019.

Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he had accepted Georgieva’s resignation with “great regret”.

She will be succeeded by Günther H. Oettinger, currently responsible for digital economy and society at the commission.

While her role at the bank is newly created, she will effectively replace Sri Mulyani Indrawati, formerly the bank’s managing director and chief operating officer, who was appointed Indonesian finance minister in July.


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