Washington: World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, who resigned on 17 May 2007, offered to delegate day-to-day decisions to his top deputies until his tenure ends on June 30.
Wolfowitz, in a letter to board members a day after his resignation, said most of his responsibilities can be handled by the agency’s two managing directors, Graeme Wheeler and Juan Jose Daboub, and that he won’t be involved in personnel decisions. He said he wrote the letter after consulting with the board’s senior members, Eckhard Deutscher and Otaviano Canuto.
“Should policy matters arise, I would defer to the appropriate” managing director or vice president, the letter said. “If the board so desires, I am happy to assist on the few pending strategic issues” such as the bank’s budget.
World Bank board members met on 18 May to consider how the bank should be run until a successor is named, and they adjourned without responding to the letter. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson a day earlier pledged to “move quickly” to identify a replacement, who will be named by President George W. Bush.
Wolfowitz, the former US deputy defense secretary, resigned under pressure from European governments, which said his involvement in a pay raise for his companion had damaged the bank’s credibility. His resignation allowed him to escape censure by the board after a panel of directors found that he had violated staff rules and the terms of his contract.
The list of possible successors includes US Treasury Deputy Secretary Robert Kimmitt, 59; former Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, 53; and Allan Hubbard, 59, director of the White House National Economic Council.
Wolfowitz, 63, was the first president to resign under fire since the group was founded in 1944. Bush, the only world leader to say he should stay in office, yielded to pressure from European nations including France, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands.