The Obama administration included President Ruth Simmons on an initial list of potential nominees to lead the World Bank, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. President Obama appears to have since narrowed his focus to a smaller group of candidates, including Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, Bloomberg reported.
The search comes ahead of a March 23 deadline for executive directors from member countries to submit their candidates to replace Robert Zoellick, whose term ends June 30 and who has served as president of the World Bank since 2007. Obama initially sought to expand the reach of his search beyond traditional banking and government leaders, Bloomberg reported, with PepsiCo Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi and Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates cited as two others who were considered alongside Simmons.
The Office of the President and Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations, declined to comment for this article.
The United States traditionally selects the World Bank president under an informal agreement that keeps the International Monetary Fund’s top position in European hands. But signals of increased dissatisfaction with this agreement from developing countries prompted Obama to focus more intently on selecting a candidate with broader appeal, Bloomberg reported.
Though no other countries have submitted challengers so far, speculation has centered on potential candidates such as former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo. In the United States, many have mentioned Hillary Clinton as a potential pick, though she has publicly denied any intention to hold the office.
A spokesman for the World Bank described the selection as “a merit-based, transparent process” and said the bank will not release the names of submitted candidates until a shortlist of three is set, though countries could leak their nominees to the press. The new president will likely be chosen by the World Bank’s spring meeting in mid-April, the spokesman said.