David Malpass? Really?

CDG’s President Emeritus Nancy Birdsall didn’t call being World Bank president the hardest job in the world for nothing.

Personal traits are important.

Now that David Malpass is rumored to be the Trump Administration’s nominee to succeed Dr Kim, the Board’s fifth criterion “effective and diplomatic communication skills, impartiality and objectivity in the performance of the responsibilities of the position” goes without saying if you take the Board’s first four assessment criteria seriously.

Cheerleaders for financial recklessness that led to widespread adverse impact and expensive fixes without accountability need not apply. Modest in judgment in one’s profession or field of expertise, and learning from one’s mistakes, are essential. 

Partisan attachments are to be avoided. That includes campaign fundraising and giving bad advice that isn’t listened to. The line between blunt, and candidly descriptive and persuasive, is a difficult one. It needs to be clear. 

No pettiness or abusing of subordinates. Tone at the top matters. So does respect for expertise, experience, and perspective. 

Facts matter. Spin must be sparingly applied. You shouldn’t have to be told to apologize if you ‘misspeak’.

No cronies. No #MeToo risks. No side trips for personal benefit. 

No agendas that aren’t aligned with Board-approved policies. No rogue speeches or hotlines to one government. 

Let’s see how other candidates, and David Malpass, stack up against the criteria the World Bank’s Board have announced. 

This entry was posted in Candidates, The Process by Paul Cadario. Bookmark the permalink.

About Paul Cadario

Paul Cadario is the Distinguished Fellow in Global Innovation at the University of Toronto. Cross-appointed to the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and the Centre for Global Engineering, his teaching and public engagement focus on sustainable solutions for poverty reduction, including governance and the behavior of organizational leaders. Paul joined UofT in 2012 after a 37-year career at the World Bank. His frontline experience working on West Africa and China, prepared him for Bank management, working to set up the Bank’s programs in the Former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe. He led the change management and process reform for the Bank’s global information systems, preparing the Bank for an era of decentralization and transparency. From 2001 until 2012, he was responsible for oversight, quality assurance and compliance for the Bank’s trust fund portfolio, working with Bank staff, recipients, and development partners to ensure results and integrity.