The abrupt departure of World Bank President Jim Yong Kim could revive long-standing concerns about the degree of influence the U.S. wields in selecting a new leader for the international financial institution.
The world's largest economy has always chosen World Bank leaders and if President Donald Trump appoints one who shares his views, experts say the organization's reputation and climate change program could be at stake.
More than three years before his term ends in 2022, Kim, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama, announced his resignation this week, saying he would be joining a private-sector infrastructure investment fund. The move was of his own accord and not because he was pushed out by the Trump administration, people familiar with the situation told Reuters.
But others speculate the Korean-American left due to fundamental differences with the Trump administration over environmental policies. "It's hard to imagine that Kim was not hearing messages from the Trump administration," Peter McCawley, former dean of the Asian Development Bank Institute, wrote in a note published by The Lowy Institute, an Australian think tank. World Bank presidents have always maintained close links with senior figures in the U.S. Treasury, he added.