World Bank president resigns abruptly

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The President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim announced his resignation from his position on Monday, with effect from February 1.

Kim’s resignation caught the world financial sector by surprise, as he still had more than three years at the helm of the institution. 

The 59-year-old in his announcement said he was leaving the World Bank to join a “firm” – whose name he did not disclose – and that he would focus on “infrastructure investments in developing economies.”

A former EU commissioner who has been serving as World Bank chief executive, Kristalina Georgieva, has been appointed to take over from the departing Kim when he steps down next month. 

“It has been a great honour to serve as President of this remarkable institution, full of passionate individuals dedicated to the mission of ending extreme poverty in our lifetime,” Kim said in a statement. “The work of the World Bank Group is more important now than ever as the aspirations of the poor rise all over the world, and problems like climate change, pandemics, famine and refugees continue to grow in both their scale and complexity,” he added.

Kim has led the World Bank since 2012 when he was appointed to the job by former US President Barack Obama. 

Traditionally, the sitting US administration picks the president of the World Bank. Although there is a formal selection process for the presidency of the financial institution, its board has consistently approved US appointees, while Europeans have won the post of managing director of the International Monetary Fund