Robert Zoellick, the president of the World Bank, has announced that he will step down at the end of his current term.
He informed the board of his decision today, the Associated Press reported.
They will now begin the process of selecting a new president, before Zoellick's five-year term comes to an end on June 30.
Appointments may technically be in the hands of the bank's leadership, but according to the Wall Street Journal, in reality the decision lies with the White House – which always appoints an American.
According to RTE, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers are among those slated as possible successors. Clinton has firmly denied any interest in the job.
This time round, however, the position could be opened up to a candidate from an emerging economy, the Financial Times speculated.
"The Bank has recognized that we live in a world of multiple poles of growth where traditional concepts of the 'Third World' are now outdated and where developing countries have a key role to play as growth drivers and responsible stakeholders," Zoellick said in a statement today.
Zoellick became president of the World Bank in 2007, after his predecessor, Paul Wolfowitz, was forced to resign after controversy over his relationship with a female employee. The then president George W. Bush nominated Zoellick for the position.
Foreign Policy cited a source within the World Bank who said it was rumored the current US administration told Zoellick earlier this week that "they would like to see him go." However, another source told its correspondent that Zoellick had made the decision independently.
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