Ziad Hayek has been nominated by Lebanon’s Minister of Finance. With a credible résumé and a diverse international track record in finance, Hayek reportedly has an American passport, too, if that matters to the Bank’s board: it shouldn’t, and it’s not in the five criteria they’ve set out.
It’s interesting that a governor from the constituency group headed by Merza Hussain Hasan, who, as the longest-serving executive director also serves as dean of the board. Merza presides over the transparent, open, and merit-based selection process we’ve been promised, alas unaided—or, depending on your perspective, unhindered—by an executive search firm. Pour mémoire, any governor may nominate anyone.
Also, as dean of the Board, Merza surely has an obligation to operate with clean hands on nominations, and on the process. If he is concerned about the Bank’s credibility, and the board’s, he should realize that an ‘open, merit-based and transparent’ process would be greatly bolstered by a competitive selection. He should be taking steps to tease other serious candidates to offer themselves, as Ziad Hayez, with the support of Lebanon’s finance minister, has.
It’s good that Fellow American David Malpass now has a serious opponent, versed in PPPs, a key element of the WBG’s “Cascade” model in its “Forward Look” strategy (sic), and with a breadth of successful global experience. That includes working at Bear Stearns, although nearly a decade before Mr Malpass helped usher it to the rockslide that started the Great Recession.
We have seen no rumors lately about other serious contenders, like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Minouche Shafik. Minouche’s serious FT op-ed about populism and open societies should be re-read, as something that needs to be on the Bank’s agenda.