David Malpass, a senior US Treasury official and staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, was unanimously chosen Friday as the World Bank’s next president.
The 63-year-old has been a staunch critic of global financial institutions, describing their lending practices as “corrupt” and ineffective, and claiming they are overly generous to China.
Malpass, who has toned down his message since being tapped to lead the institution, begins his five-year term on Tuesday, replacing former president Jim Yong Kim, whose sudden departure came not even halfway through his second term.
The announcement came as expected just before next week’s joint spring meetings of the World Bank and the IMF.
The bank said in a statement that Malpass’s selection by the board of directors followed an “open, transparent” nomination process in which citizens of all member countries were potentially eligible.
But since the establishment of the bank following World War II, all of its presidents have been American men, following an unwritten rule that also ensures European leadership at the top of its sister body, the International Monetary Fund.
As the US Treasury official in charge of international affairs, Malpass had been the only candidate for the World Bank job and his nomination by Trump earlier this year sparked outrage among critics, who saw it as an affront to the global anti-poverty lender’s very mission.
But Malpass now emphasizes that he is committed to the institution’s mission of eliminating extreme poverty and that reforms enacted last year as part of a $13 billion capital increase addressed many of his concerns.
In an open letter to bank staff on Friday, Malpass said the institution’s mission was “more urgent than ever,” adding that he had “listened carefully” in recent meetings with staff, board members and other stakeholders.
– with reporting by Agence France-Presse