Update November 7, 2015

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President Kim of WB to faceless difficulties after departures of two top executives

Sumel Sarker

dr jim yong kim

President Kim of WB to faceless difficulties after departures of two top executives

07 November 2015, Nirapad News: The news about departures of the World Bank’s top Chinese executive and French chief financial officer has come as another blow to the presidency of Jim Yong Kim, according to a report in the international media.

Jin-Yong Cai, the former Goldman Sachs banker who since 2012 has headed the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), will leave the bank on December 31, with almost a year left on his four-year term. His replacement is due to be announced next week.

Since taking over, Mr Cai has pushed for the IFC to lend and invest more aggressively. But some of that investment — particularly to Chinese companies — has caused unease among shareholders.

In another development, Bertrand Badré, who joined the bank from Société Générale in March 2013, is due to leave next March. He became a lightning rod for staff anger over Dr Kim’s restructuring when it emerged last year that he was due to receive a rare bonus even as job cuts were being announced.

Mr Badré has also been a key figure at the bank, particularly in Dr Kim’s efforts to increase its financial firepower in the face of rising demand for infrastructure spending and the emergence of new competitors such as the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the report adds.

However, the reported incoming departures of these two World Bank (WB) executives — which are just the latest at the bank — are seen as a blow to Dr Kim, who has struggled to establish his hold on the institution and to win over staff.

Earlier this year, Madelyn Antoncic, the bank’s treasurer, left the WB after a dispute with Mr Badré over the structuring of a Chinese loan to the bank. The restructuring, which prompted an open staff revolt before last year’s annual meetings of the bank in Washington, also led to the departure of a number of its top experts.

Dr Kim began a five-year term with the World Bank in July 2012. He insists that Mr Cai and Mr Badré are leaving as part of normal turnover, and that the former Dartmouth College president is assembling an effective senior management team, according to the report.

A different view, however, is taken by others at the bank. Dr Kim, the report adds quoting one senior bank official, was told a few months ago during a regular board review of his presidency that he needed to bring more stability to the bank — and particularly to its senior ranks.

A staff unrest earlier over a radical restructuring of the organisation has, however, appeared to have settled down. The moves for restructuring have come amid disquiet among some shareholders over the strategic direction of parts of the bank, and frustration with the lingering turmoil from the restructuring and $400m in cost savings that Dr Kim pushed through last year, the report adds.

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