World Bank’s Kim abruptly resigns to join infrastructure firm, Latest Business News - The New Paper

World Bank’s Kim abruptly resigns to join infrastructure firm

This article is more than 12 months old

WASHINGTON : World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim unexpectedly resigned on Monday, more than three years before his term ends in 2022, amid differences with the Trump administration over climate change and the need for more development resources.

Mr Kim, appointed twice by former US President Barack Obama for five-year terms, had pushed financing for green energy projects and dropped support for coal power investments, but had avoided public clashes with the Trump administration, which has made reviving the US coal sector a priority.

Last month, the World Bank announced it would double its investments to fight climate change to US$200 billion (S$271b) over the next five years.

Mr Kim told World Bank employees in an e-mail that he was leaving the world's largest lender and donor to poor and middle-income countries on Feb 1 to join a private-sector firm focused on infrastructure investments in the developing world.

"The opportunity to join the private sector was unexpected, but I've concluded that this is the path through which I will be able to make the largest impact on major global issues like climate change and the infrastructure deficit in emerging markets," Mr Kim said.

Ms Kristalina Georgieva, who last year became the World Bank's chief executive officer, will be interim president when Mr Kim departs, the bank said.

The bank's president has traditionally been an American picked by the US, but some of the lender's 189 member countries could mount a challenge. Mr Mark Sobel, a former US executive director at the International Monetary Fund and a former US Treasury official, said: "The world is suspicious of the Trump administration, which has a different agenda for the bank."

A spokesman for the US Treasury said that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin "looks forward to working with his fellow governors in selecting a new leader." - REUTERS