Paul Wolfowitz has given an exclusive interview to the BBC World Service to try to explain why he is leaving the World Bank. He says the media and an overheated atmosphere were to blame, and uses his airtime to justify his record at the Bank in general and on the Riza affair. He refuses to be drawn on how his successor should be chosen but agrees that African countries are “under-represented” at the Bank. Continue reading
If you like on-line consultations, here’s another one. With admirable dry humour the World Bank’s civil society team this week issued the following announcement, making no mention of the governance melt-down at the top of their institution.
“Please note that the deadline to provide web feedback to seek further comments to help inform the development of the governance and anti-corruption implementation plan has been extended to Wednesday, May 30″. Continue reading
According to a tip-off I just received from someone who needs to remain discreet, a new candidate in the running is Vasken Setrakian. Mr Setrakian is a former classmate of President Bush from Harvard, where they both did their MBA. He is also an ex-managing director at Brown Brothers Harriman and currently runs his own Investment firm in New York.
Seems like the Harvard Crimson, a university daily that is gloating today about how many World Bank prez candidates are alumni, will have to do an update.
French colleague Jean Merckaert, who works at CCFD writes from Paris this morning with another intriguing suggestion: “Jacques Chirac left the Elysée Palace one week ago. In his last speech as President he promised to keep active on development, environment and Africa. French media mentionned the project of a Chirac Foundation on sustainable development, with Michel Camdessus as an advisor… is that another name for the World Bank? If the World Bank presidency conferred judicial immunity he might be interested. And if governments want to take advantage of Wolfie’s resignation to put an end to the fight against corruption, then it could be a deal!” George Bush might take some persuading to put this old European on the shortlist, but if other former presidents and prime ministers are being discussed, why not Chirac?
President Bush spells it out. “I do think it’d be good to have an American run the bank”. He said this to the BBC in response to questions about whether Tony Blair could get the job. Mr Bush added that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is in charge of the search for Mr Wolfowitz’s successor, and will compile a short list for the president.