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Treasury's Malpass a Finalist on Trump's World Bank List

Treasury's Malpass a Finalist on Trump's World Bank List

U.S. Undersecretary for International Affairs David Malpass leaves a hotel in Beijing, China, on Tuesday. (Wang Zhao/Getty Images)

Tuesday, 29 January 2019 05:39 PM

A Donald Trump loyalist, Treasury Undersecretary David Malpass, is a finalist to be the president’s choice for the next World Bank president, according to people familiar with the matter.

Trump is still interviewing candidates for the job, but several other people the White House has considered are now seen as unlikely to win Trump’s recommendation unless he changes course. They include Ray Washburne, head of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Mark Green, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Robert Kimmitt, a former senior U.S. Treasury official, and Pepsico Inc. Chairman Indra Nooyi, the people familiar with the matter said.

The bank’s executive board oversees the selection of a new president and has invited member nations to put forward nominees between Feb. 7 and March 14. There appears to be little appetite outside the U.S. to challenge Trump’s choice as president of the bank -- traditionally led by an American --as long as he selects someone credible, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Malpass’s division of Treasury normally manages the U.S. process to appoint a World Bank president, and he has publicly advocated for the bank to cut lending to China, one of its largest borrowers. A Treasury spokesman said that the U.S. search committee for the bank job is led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, his chief of staff Eli Miller and Ivanka Trump and that Malpass isn’t involved.

The White House press office declined to comment. The World Bank committed nearly $64 billion in loans to emerging markets and developing countries in its last fiscal year.

Trump Meetings

Trump met with Washburne on Thursday and with Malpass on Monday. A decision may come soon, one person said. Washburne didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Malpass, an economist and former Trump campaign adviser, is one of the administration’s more prominent voices on international economic matters, but he has reportedly clashed with Mnuchin. He also served as a deputy secretary at the State Department under George H.W. Bush and chief economist at Bear Stearns Cos.

He’s played a central role in trade talks with the Chinese, and his departure would leave a void in Treasury’s senior management. In his current job, he’s been a China critic, scolding Beijing for failing to live up to promises of economic reform and questioning why the World Bank should lend to the country, given its clout.

In securing a $13 billion capital increase last year, the World Bank agreed to changes to its lending policies that give priority to lower-income nations.

Informal Pact

Before joining the government, Washburne co-founded a chain of restaurants including Mi Cocina and Taco Diner. He’s also a Trump loyalist who raised money for the president’s campaign as vice chairman of the Trump Victory Committee.

Nooyi served on a World Bank panel that advised the lender on diversity and inclusion. But she was not a Trump supporter, and she was among dozens of business executives who last year signed a letter expressing “serious concerns” about the administration’s immigration policy.

Jim Yong Kim announced this month he’s leaving as president of the World Bank Group more than three years early to become vice chairman at investment firm Global Infrastructure Partners. The bank’s second in command, Kristalina Georgieva, will take over on an interim basis on Feb. 1.

Kim’s departure has reignited debate about the mission of the World Bank and America’s role as its biggest shareholder. Under an informal trans-Atlantic pact, an American has always run the World Bank while the managing director of its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund, has always been European.

But the rising clout of countries such as China and India is driving support for a non-American candidate. “The changing global economic landscape makes the convention outdated. There are many excellent potential candidates across the globe, just as there probably are in the U.S.,” former U.S. IMF executive director and Treasury official Mark Sobel said in a recent article.

The bank’s executive board will publish a short list of three candidates and aims to pick a new president by mid-April. The ideal candidate would have experience managing large organizations, a vision for the World Bank’s development mission and a commitment to international cooperation, the board has said.

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A Donald Trump loyalist, Treasury Undersecretary David Malpass, is a finalist to be the president's choice for the next World Bank president, according to people familiar with the matter.
malpass, world bank, trump, finalist, treasury
Tuesday, 29 January 2019 05:39 PM
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