Obama Makes Surprise Pick to Head World Bank

Dartmouth president Jim Yong Kim expected to be announced today
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 23, 2012 8:56 AM CDT
Dr. Jim Yong Kim smiles as almost a thousand students, faculty and staff applaud after he is introduced as the next president of Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, Monday, March 2, 2009.   (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

(Newser) – President Obama will nominate Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank, a surprise pick for the international financial institution's top job, senior administration officials say. The Korean-born Kim is a physician by training and a prominent figure in global health and development circles. Officials believe his experience will help counter criticism from developing countries that have grown weary of the US stranglehold on the World Bank presidency. Obama took a strong personal interest in filling the World Bank vacancy after current president Robert Zoellick announced in February he was stepping down.

Obama and his advisers considered more than a dozen candidates, including well-known figures in the administration. But in the end, officials said, Obama pushed for a nominee with broad development experience and was particularly drawn to Kim's innovative work fighting the spread of AIDS and tuberculosis. Obama is to announce Kim's nomination today during a White House Rose Garden event also attended by Hillary Clinton, who officials said was the first to recommend Kim for the job. The actual selection will be made next month by the World Bank's 25-member executive board. The United States, as the world's largest economy, has the largest percentage of the votes.

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