Robert Zoellick’s biography reveals some further interesting elements. He sat on Enron’s advisory board. This means that he should have interesting insights into corporate governance matters – one thing which the Bank’s board has pledged to fix up following the recent dramas. He must also have gained insights through his membership of the Trilateral Commission, a secretive top peoples’ club (though the official website no longer has him listed).
Comments on this site yesterday indicated Zoellick’s membership of ‘the Vulcans’, a grouping urging a more robust U.S. foreign policy and military intervention strategy. He also joined Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and others in signing a letter urging then president Clinton to undertake “a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts to … remove Saddam Hussein’s regime from power”.
The excellent (and already updated) Wikipedia entry has more. Including Zoellick’s views on free trade. According to Tom Barry, policy director of the International Relations Center “Zoellick “regards free trade philosophy and free trade agreements as instruments of U.S. national interests. When the principles of free trade affect U.S. short-term interests or even the interests of political constituencies, Zoellick is more a mercantilist and unilateralist than free trader or multilateralist.”
His personality could also be a problem. David’s January 2005 post on this site gives some worrying indications: “Zoellick is intense, wonkish and furiously competitive”. That post also shows how his air-miles and full Rolodex will stand him in good stead to network his way to a top job such as that at the World Bank.
There is certainly a lot to scrutinise here: the Bank’s board will be busy. Let’s hope they get another candidate to measure up against Zoellick.