Chinese candidates

Several previous discussions talked about potential Chinese candidates. Best to look at internal names. Over the last ten years, there have been only four Chinese names in the top management teams of the Bank Group entities. One left for Citi and three are currently still with the Bank. The Bank’s current management teams are available here.

Justin Lin – IBRD’s SVP and Chief Economist. He’s a well known public intellectual and has built a strong relationship with President Robert Zoellick. He has been focusing on “big ideas” after the financial crisis and is a strong advocate of a new development economics where experiences from developing countries should count more. No Internal opposition and is rumored to be supported by Zoellick. If combined with a strong administrator as a deputy, he could work. However, limited operational experience could hamper his chance. A source close to Lin and his wife indicated that they are itching to go back to Beijing. Both are members of the Chinese parliament, and had to suspend their memberships.
Jingdong Hua – IFC’s VP of Treasury and formerly ADB’s Deputy Treasurer. He has many years of experience in international development, including stints at AfDB, UN, ADB and is known as a strong manager in both ADB and IFC. While parachuting into IFC, Hua has avoided controversy. (Big contrast compared to his counterpart at IBRD Madeline Antoncic, who has made numerous enemies and is killing the staff morale in IBRD Treasury.) Hua experienced the Cultural Revolution in China when he was young, and was known as a political wise man in ADB. He belongs to the most powerful age group in China, those who graduated from college in the early 1980s, the first batch of college grads after the Cultural Revolution. He was rumored to be considered for high-level positions in the Chinese government. However, joining IFC only last year, Hua is considered new to the Bank Group and hasn’t fully understood the internal politics. An ADB source said he did not get along with his Japanese boss at ADB Treasury.
Kevin Lu – MIGA’s Asia Director and formerly its CFO. Lu is a Bank insider with over a decade with the Bank Group. He is known as someone who delivers and as a strong manager. He is rumored to be politically connected to several powerful Board members. However, he is currently based in Singapore, far from the DC power center. He is also believed to be around 40, and does not have the gravitas for the top job.  A MIGA source said he did not get along with his former Japanese boss.
Shengman Zhang – currently Citi’s Chairman in Asia, formerly a Managing Director for IBRD. Zhang is known as an extremely strong decision-maker and a popular manager. He promoted many of the Bank’s senior managers, and many still work in the Bank. Therefore he has wide support among existing managers. Zhang used to be the No 2 of the Bank under Jim Wolfensohn. Net worth believed to be over $25 million, after 7 years with Citi. So he has already made his money, and ready for some public service.

2 thoughts on “Chinese candidates

  1. A review of Shengman Zhsng’s many achievements as de facto #2 to James Wolfensohn would raise questions about judgment, style and some decisions he was involved in. He may also be enjoying Hong Kong and his responsibilities at CitiBank and doing a great job in an important market.

  2. Could Shengman Zhang get nominated by China? I have no doubt having observed him at the Bank that he would be an effective president.

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