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­Gary Perlin, treasurer of the World Bank: Perlin switches the focus

On his first day as treasurer of the World Bank ­ March 1 this year Gary Perlin was winding up a trip to China, the bank's biggest borrower. By contrast, the first overseas trip of his predecessor Jessica Einhorn (now promoted to managing director) was to Japan, the biggest investor in the bank's bonds.

That, says Perlin, is a neat example of the change in emphasis he wants to bring to his department. "Historically," says Perlin, "treasury considered the World Bank's balance sheet to be its only client. I want to shift the focus to our end-clients, the borrowers." That could force changes in the way investment bankers service the World Bank.

Perlin brings to the job an unusual perspective. He is the first World Bank treasurer who has also been treasurer at another financial institution: he held the post at Fannie Mae from 1985 to 1993. He is also the first World Bank treasurer to have worked on the asset side of the organization: until March he was director of financial sector development where, among other initiatives, he developed programmes for lending via commercial banks in emerging markets.

Perlin says he wants to use his experiences to rethink fundamentally the role of the department. "I'm undertaking a complete review of treasury operations in the light of what I know from elsewhere: everything from financial instruments and liquidity to organizational structure and borrowing strategy."

The first big change Perlin has to cope with is the expansion of single-currency loans.