U.S. official: Wolfowitz replacement has been selected
( Reuters ) - President Bush has chosen Robert Zoellick, a former U.S. Trade Representative, as the new president for the World Bank to replace Paul Wolfowitz, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday.
Bush plans to announce his selection Wednesday and expects the bank's board to accept it, the administration official said.
Bush had said he wanted an American to succeed Wolfowitz, despite increasing calls from World Bank member countries and some U.S. lawmakers to throw the process open to a global pool of candidates.
The controversy over Wolfowitz's authorization of a hefty raise for his companion, Middle East expert Shaha Riza, deepened rifts among bank staff already discontented over his anti-corruption agenda and prompted sharp criticism from shareholder countries.Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson received "positive reactions" from other countries to the choice of Zoellick, the administration official said.
As Bush's first trade representative, Zoellick, 53, helped launch the Doha round of world trade talks. He later served as deputy secretary of state and became the administration's point person on China policy and Darfur. Zoellick left the government last year to join investment bank Goldman Sachs.
Zoellick's experience in finance and diplomacy "make him uniquely prepared to take on this challenge," the administration official said.
"He has the trust and respect of many officials around the world and believes deeply in the World Bank's mission of tackling poverty," the official added.
Paulson had spearheaded the effort to find Wolfowitz's successor. Asked whether the World Bank board would approve of Zoellick, the official said, "We have every confidence in that."