Thu 17 May 2007
Development groups immediately reacted to the resignation by repeating demands that Washington launch a wider search for a replacement, including the consideration of non-American candidates. Yet U.S. officials suggest the White House is likely to nominate another American to become the 11th bank president since the institution was founded in the late 1940s.
Some names thought to be on the short list are former Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, who was considered at the time Mr. Wolfowitz got the nod in 2005, and current Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt. Another name that has come up is that of former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a heart surgeon who has traveled frequently to Africa…
The bank’s board is a volatile mix of big, single-country seats representing large donors, such as the U.S. and Germany, and a slew of other seats in which countries such as Mexico, Korea, Malaysia and Pakistan act as delegates for a group of countries in their region. The U.S. has the largest single voting share, at 16.4%, while the seat representing many of the Arab states, for instance, has just a 2.9% voting share.
The board’s dynamics made it unlikely a push to fire Mr. Wolfowitz could have won a majority vote. A solid vote against him from nearly all European shareholders, with the exception of Britain, would have added up to less than 25%. The countries that were more clearly supportive either of Mr. Wolfowitz or the Bush administration — including Britain, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Mexico — may have weighed in at more than 45%.
Wolfowitz Quits World Bank as U.S. Relents (wall street journal, may 18, 2007).