This is great news, and not just because it was widely rumored that Larry Summers had the job in the bag – we wouldn’t want him doing to the rest of the world what he’s done here. (Robert Kuttner: “For Larry Summers, Obama’s nomination of Jim Yong Kim ends a winning streak of falling upwards.”)
No, it’s good because a real development professional, and not a Wall St. banker, will be overseeing the bank:
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will nominate Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim to head the World Bank, a surprise pick for the international financial institution’s top job, senior administration officials said.
The Korean-born Kim is a physician by training and a prominent figure in global health and development circles. Officials believe his experience will help counter criticism from developing countries that have grown weary of the U.S. stranglehold on the World Bank presidency.
Obama took a strong personal interest in filling the World Bank vacancy after current president Robert Zoellick announced in February he was stepping down. Obama and his advisers considered more than a dozen candidates, including well-known figures in the administration. But in the end, officials said, Obama pushed for a nominee with broad development experience and was particularly drawn to Kim’s innovative work fighting the spread of AIDS and tuberculosis.
The 187-nation World Bank focuses on fighting poverty and promoting development. It is a leading source of development loans for countries seeking financing to build dams, roads and other infrastructure projects.
[…] Obama picked Kim over several more well-known candidates, including Susan Rice, current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.; and Lawrence Summers, Obama’s former director of the National Economic Council.
Out of those people, only Larry Summers was known to be interested in the job.