President to Nominate Wolfowitz to Head World Bank
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 16, 2005 Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is President Bush's choice to head the World Bank, the president said here today.
Wolfowitz would succeed James D. Wolfensohn, who announced in January that he would not seek a third five-year term as World Bank president. His current term expires May 31.
Bush revealed his decision in answer to a question at a White House news conference.
"I appreciate the world leaders taking my phone calls as I explain to them why I think Paul will be a strong president of the World Bank," the president said. "I said he was a man of good experience. He helped manage a large organization.
"The World Bank's a large organization; the Pentagon's a large organization," Bush continued. "He's been involved in the management of that organization. He's a skilled diplomat (who) worked at the State Department in high positions. He was ambassador to Indonesia, where he did a very good job representing our country. And Paul is committed to development."
The World Bank is a cooperative organization composed of five closely associated institutions, all owned by a member country. Its mission as a specialized agency of the United Nations, according to the organization's Web site, is to turn rich-country wealth into poor-country development, supporting the efforts of developing country governments to build schools and health centers, provide water and electricity, fight disease and protect the environment.
Traditionally, the World Bank's president is American, based on the United States being the largest shareholder in the institution. Wolfowitz's nomination would be subject to a vote of the World Bank's executive directors.
Wolfowitz has served as deputy defense secretary since March 2001. He previously held a variety of Defense Department and State Department posts. Before moving into the Pentagon's No. 2 position, he spent seven years as dean and professor of international relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.