WASHINGTON: World Bank President David Malpass on Wednesday (Feb 15) said he would leave his post by the end of June, months after running afoul of the White House for failing to say whether he accepts the scientific consensus on global warming.
Malpass, appointed by former President Donald Trump, will vacate the helm of the multilateral development bank, which provides billions of dollars a year in funding for developing economies, with less than a year remaining in a five-year term. He offered no specific reason for the move, saying in a statement, "after a good deal of thought, I’ve decided to pursue new challenges".
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen thanked Malpass for his service in a statement, saying: "The world has benefitted 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."
Yellen said the United States would soon nominate a replacement for Malpass and looked forward to the bank's board undertaking a "transparent, merit-based and swift nomination process for the next World Bank president."
By long-standing tradition, the US government selects the head of the World Bank, while European leaders choose the leader of its larger partner, the International Monetary Fund.
Malpass took up the World Bank helm in April 2019 after serving as the top official for international affairs at US Treasury in the Trump administration.
Last autumn he came under fire by the White House after he declined to say he supported the scientific consensus on climate change. He later apologized and reiterated his view that human activity contributes to climate change.
More recently, Yellen has launched a major push to reform the way the World Bank operates to ensure broader lending to combat climate change and other global challenges.
A source familiar with his thinking said Malpass had informed Yellen of his decision on Tuesday.
The end of the fiscal year was a natural time to step aside, the source said. The World Bank's governors are expected to approve the bank's roadmap for reforms with only minor changes at the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank set for mid-April.