Zoellick to be nominated to World Bank

Updated: 2007-05-30 20:53
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WASHINGTON - Robert Zoellick, a Goldman Sachs executive who has built contacts around the globe as President Bush's trade chief and as the country's No. 2 diplomat, is the White House's choice to be the next World Bank president.

Zoellick to be nominated to World Bank
U.S. President George W. Bush (L) speaks next to former U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick at the White House in Washington in this May 8, 2006 file photo. Bush has chosen Zoellick to replace Paul Wolfowitz as president of the World Bank, a senior American official said on May 29, 2007. [Reuters]

Bush was to announce the decision Wednesday, according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of Bush's announcement.

Zoellick, 53, would succeed Paul Wolfowitz, who is stepping down June 30 after findings by a special bank panel that he broke bank rules when he arranged a hefty compensation package in 2005 for his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, a bank employee.

The controversy led to calls for Wolfowitz to resign from the poverty-fighting institution.

A seasoned veteran of politics both inside the Beltway and on the international stage, Zoellick is known for pulling facts and figures off the top of his head. He also has a reputation for being a demanding boss.

Bush's selection of Zoellick must be approved by the World Bank's 24-member board.

The bank's board in a statement late Tuesday made no mention of Zoellick by name and noted that any executive director could nominate a candidate. The board said it was essential that the next president, among other things, have "political objectivity and independence."

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