Thursday, February 16, 2012

Little effort to break U.S. grip on World Bank

(Reuters) - World Bank President Robert Zoellick said on Wednesday he will step down in June and Washington pledged to put a replacement candidate forward within weeks for a job that has always gone to an American.

The Obama administration said it would open the process to competition, marking the first time it has shown willingness to loosen its grip on the world's top development lender.

Zoellick took the reins at the Bank in 2007 after a staff revolt pushed out Paul Wolfowitz, and he moved quickly to return the institution's focus to alleviating poverty.

Developing countries have for years pressed for a greater voice in leading global financial institutions and are likely to stress the importance of a competitive process, but the United States is still widely expected to retain its hold on the job.

"It is very important that we continue to have strong, effective leadership of this important institution, and in the coming weeks, we plan to put forward a candidate with experience and requisite qualities to take this institution forward," U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a statement. Read More