Tough boots to fill at the top of the World Bank
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Tough boots to fill at the top of the World Bank

And just as tough to get an interview with those higher up the ladder.

Identifying candidates who were willing to take on the World Bank presidency became trickier as the list of desirable or essential requirements lengthened. 

Preferred credentials added in later years would include an interest in development, a commitment to alleviating poverty, a determination to address climate change and reasonable social and communications skills. 


David Malpass,
World Bank

Ideally, too, World Bank presidents would be sufficiently fit and youthful to complete two five-year terms, not least because as former president Robert McNamara once observed, for any newcomer it would take “two years to find your way around.” 

Age was clearly against Eugene Meyer, who was 70 when he was appointed. Poor health was against some later World Bank chiefs, most notably Lewis Preston in the 1990s. The former JPMorgan chief executive was 68 when his presidency was cut short by terminal cancer.

Others were unsuitable because they were singularly uninterested in the World Bank presidency in the first place.

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