World Bank president to step down early
World Bank President David Malpass has planned to step down a year before his term is set to end, the organization announced Wednesday.
Malpass will leave his position on June 30, the end of the World Bank’s fiscal year, after serving more than four years in the role.
“It has been an enormous honor and privilege to serve as President of the world’s premier development institution,” Malpass said in a statement. “With developing countries facing unprecedented crises, I’m proud that the Bank Group has responded with speed, scale, innovation, and impact.”
The World Bank, a group of 187 nations, lends money to developing countries to help reduce poverty. Former US President Donald Trump appointed Malpass as World Bank chief in 2019 for a five-year period. As the largest shareholder, the United States traditionally appoints its president.
During Malpass’ tenure, the organization responded to multiple crises, including a global pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine. The World Bank said Malpass implemented record surges in finances in response to both. He also focused on policies to increase economic growth, reduce government debt burdens, and help reduce poverty.
But his tenure has been controversial.
Malpass faced criticism from climate activists in September after he refused to confirm during a climate panel whether he accepted the scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels were dangerously warming the planet. After an outpouring of criticism, many opponents called for his resignation.
He later clarified to CNN that he was a not a “a denier,” and that fossil fuel emissions are “clearly” contributing to global warming. The World Bank also noted on Wednesday that it more than doubled its climate financing in 2022 to a record $32 billion.
Malpass said he has “decided to pursue new challenges” and that this is an opportunity for a smooth leadership transition at the Bank Group.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday thanked Malpass for his service, saying in a statement: “The world has benefited from his strong support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion, his vital work to assist the Afghan people, and his commitment to helping low-income countries achieve debt sustainability through debt reduction.”
“And while we all must continue to raise our collective ambitions in the fight against climate change, during President Malpass’ tenure the World Bank has made important recent advances in this area,” she said.
Yellen also noted his commitment to “ensuring a smooth transition” and said the United States is looking forward to a “transparent, merit-based and swift nomination” for the next World Bank president.
The opening also provides an opportunity for President Joe Biden to nominate an official who can implement the administration’s green energy vision and help combat climate change while lowering energy costs for families.