Bush set to name Zoellick as deputy to Rice
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick is expected to be named deputy to incoming Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice later this month, U.S. officials familiar with the decision said on Thursday.
Officials said an announcement was likely after Rice's confirmation hearing scheduled for Jan. 18. Zoellick had also been mentioned as a candidate to replace World Bank President James Wolfensohn who told the bank this week he planned to leave in June.
One leading contender to replace Zoellick is Grant Aldonas, undersecretary for international trade at the Commerce Department, a business lobbyist close to the administration said.
Other possibilities include the deputy U.S. trade representative for Asia, Josette Shiner, and another deputy U.S. trade representative, Peter Allgeier.
Zoellick had recently met with Rice and officials said she had high regard for the U.S. trade representative, who worked at the State Department during the administration of the first President Bush as undersecretary of state for economic affairs.
During that time, he worked closely on issues surrounding the collapse of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany, areas where Rice also has experience.
Zoellick is widely recognized as being tough, talented and quick to analyze difficult situations, and is known for his ability to grasp how foreign policy and international economics affect each other.
During the disputed 2000 presidential election recount in Florida, Zoellick was one of the first people enlisted by former Secretary of State James Baker to help save the election for Bush.
In 1999, when Rice and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz began putting together a formal team to give foreign policy advice to Bush in anticipation of his 2000 White House run, Zoellick was among those recruited.
Zoellick's likely new job opens the way for other candidates to replace Wolfensohn at the World Bank.
Potential candidates include John Taylor, Treasury's undersecretary for international affairs; Randall Tobias, the administration's global AIDS coordinator and Christine Todd Whitman, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Powell has been mentioned but has not expressed interest.
The United States is the bank's biggest shareholder and by informal agreement picks the head of the World Bank.