Dartmouth’s Jim Yong Kim named World Bank president
The World Bank named Jim Yong Kim, Dartmouth College’s president, as its new chief on Monday. The bank board said it had chosen Kim as the institution’s 12th president to succeed Robert Zoellick when his five-year term ends in June. A native of South Korea, he will be only the second World Bank president born outside the U.S.
President Obama reached outside the worlds of finance and government in nominating Kim, whose career was built around how to deliver expensive HIV and tuberculosis medicines to poor or remote parts of the world. A physician with a doctorate in anthropology, Kim was criticized by some development professionals concerned that his narrow expertise was wrong for such a diverse institution. The bank offers loans and grants to the poorest nations and pursues an array of projects in better-developed nations as well, from helping fund power plants and other infrastructure to helping countries strengthen their financial markets and government institutions.
However, Obama administration officials said Kim’s background is more related to development than that of previous bank heads drawn from the top ranks of government or the corporate world. Zoellick had spent much of his career in the top echelons of the U.S. government, serving as U.S. Trade Representative and then in the State Department. His predecessor, Paul Wolfowitz, moved to the World Bank from the Defense Department.
His appointment continues a 66-year tradition of the U.S. nominee being chosen as the head of the bank. But there were other nominees this time; Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Colombian finance minister Jose Antonio Ocampo.