Obama to nominate Korean-born Jim Yong Kim for World Bank head

News just started coming in that President Barack Obama will nominate Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank, a surprise choice coming on the day the deadline for nominations expires. Anonymous officials have leaked the information to the press ahead of Obama’s official announcement later today.

Kim is a global health expert who has been a Professor of Medicine and Social Medicine and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He has extensive experience in improving health in developing countries and was Director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS department from 2004 to 2006, when he oversaw all of the WHO’s work related to HIV/AIDS, focusing on initiatives to help developing countries scale up their treatment, prevention, and care programs, including the “3×5” campaign. US health activists seem to be quite excited with the news.

Meanwhile, Jeff Sachs tweeted:

Jim Kim is a superb nominee for WB. I support him 100%. I thank all who supported me and know they’ll be very pleased with today’s news

Is Sachs going to pull out of the race?

10 thoughts on “Obama to nominate Korean-born Jim Yong Kim for World Bank head

  1. Ngozi has been an outstanding and visionary VP, and it is indeed ridiculous to assume that she would not live up to deep changes the Bank needs to make itself more acceptable and useful in a multipolar world. Now, the ‘koreanization’ of international development institutions goes ahead, although Obama’s candidate is certainly more promising than Ban Ki-Moon and of course an American, not a Korean. Healthily enough, Harvard-induced, any other background could shake up the Bank’s elite university obsession. Not that this would make the Bank more relevant to a changing world, let alone that for the BRICS it is more interesting now that we’ll have an ‘Asian face’. If not, look at the utter failure of the Busan High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to engage with the BRICS, despite of organizing it in China’s front garden and mobilizing Korean diplomacy, etc. Anyway, good luck to you, World Bank buddies! You already are having a rough time with how human resources are managed with those fake consultants and pseudo staff positioons, so the guy on the top should be a minor problem.

  2. Ngozi would not stand a chance against Jim Kim in a vote of World Bank staff, even if the board cared at all what staff think. “Noitall” is far closer to the reality of Ngozi’s record at the Bank than “just me”.

    Jim Kim is far more qualified and brings the perspective of partnerships, of global public goods, of an evidence-based discipline and of knowing how to manage people with an entitlement mentality. Unlike others, American and non-American alike, he brings no baggage and so far has no enemies in the development world. He’s also not a big talker who doesn’t move to action.

    Oh, yes, and presumably Bhutan, Timor Leste and Kenya will throw their support to him on Jeff Sachs’ endorsement.

  3. In reply to the question that the post asked, “Is Sachs going to pull out of the race?” He already has.

    From the BBC:

    Following Dr Kim’s nomination, US development economist Jeffrey Sachs who had been put forward by several smaller, developing countries, announced his withdrawal from the race.

    He had argued that the World Bank should be led by a development expert.

    “Prof Sachs supports Dr Kim 100% and with complete enthusiasm,” his spokeswoman said.


  4. The fact is, if the President of the World Bank is chosen by the votes of its staff, Ngozi will win hands-down. The idea that she is not popular among the staff is really ridiculous. Barring of course the few who have an axe to grind with her. For me however, I will worry if a manger does not have few enemies who did not like him or her, usually because of a personal problem. I have been in the bank for a couple of decades, and I have yet to see a more popular and respected senior manager. Just for the record.

  5. Oh god, enough with the ngozi already from outsiders who think they are politically correct. According to World Bank staff, they couldn’t wait to get rid of her. They say she is a process server come bureaucratic infighter, hasn’t had an original thought or vision ever.

  6. Ridiculous , Insulting, and lacks any Respect for the world and the institution. The way the US has been picking Presidents for the World Bank and the choices it has been making, should alone disqualify it from doing so ever again. Shame on you Obama, and yes I am one of those who voted for you before, but never again.

  7. By all accounts, an excellent nomination from the US Administration. Let’s see the reaction from the world. I am sure we are all happy that Jeff Sachs supports him.

  8. US health activists are enthusiastic — Great! Sounds like just the sort of people qualified to pick the President of the World Bank!

    This absurd nomination may just have a good outcome — the other 180 owners of the World Bank rejecting a frivolous US nomination and appointing someone competent like Ngozi.

  9. Kim is a shrewd choice for the U.S. to nominate.

    “Is Sachs going to pull out of the race?” … Taking out an advertisement in the Washington Post (face it, that’s what the op-ed piece really was: an ad) does not put one in the race. Nor does getting the endorsement of Bhutan.

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