World Bank President Jim Yong Kim resigns

15:31 | 08/01/2019 Global Economy

The 59-year-old will be leaving the World Bank on February 1 to join an unnamed company. Jim Yong Kim's second term at the head of the development bank was scheduled to end in three years.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim - Photo: Reuters.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim will resign effective February 1, the development bank said on Monday, more than three years before his term ends in 2022.

"It has been a great honor to serve as president of this remarkable institution," said Kim, who is joining a private company focused on investments in the developing world.

In a letter to bank staff, he said he wanted to leave the organization to "take on new challenges and fully focus my efforts on leveraging private finance for the benefit of people."

The bank's chief executive officer, Kristalina Georgieva, will become interim president after Kim's departure.

Another US citizen at the top?

Kim began his second term as president in July 2017. He succeeded Robert Zoellick in 2012 under former US President Barack Obama. His departure will give President Donald Trump the opportunity to appoint a replacement at the helm of the 189-member bank.

The organization, which is responsible for funding projects in developing countries, has traditionally been led by a US citizen. It was established at the end of World War II along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is traditionally led by a European.

China and other countries have however complained about the set-up, calling for citizens of other countries to have the opportunity to lead both organizations.

The World Bank's 24-member board of directors will decide on Kim's permanent replacement. The United States is the bank's largest shareholder.

A US Treasury spokeswoman said the government appreciated Kim's "service" and that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin "looks forward to working with his fellow governors in selecting a new leader."

Theo Dw