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Corrected - World Bank's Kim abruptly resigns to join infrastructure firm

Reuters  |  WASHINGTON 

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - World Group unexpectedly resigned on Monday, more than three years before his term ends in 2022, amid differences with the over climate change and the need for more development resources.

Kim, nominated by former U.S. for two five-year terms, had pushed financing for and largely dropped support for coal power investments, but had avoided public clashes with the Trump administration, which has made reviving the U.S. coal sector a priority.

Kim told World employees in an email that he was leaving the world's largest lender and donor to poor and middle-income countries on Feb. 1 to join a private-sector firm focused on infrastructure investments in the developing world.

"The opportunity to join the private sector was unexpected, but I've concluded that this is the path through which I will be able to make the largest impact on major global issues like climate change and the infrastructure deficit in emerging markets," Kim said.

Kim said details about his new job would be released at a later date. The and former said he would also rejoin the board of Partners in Health, a health advocacy group he co-founded 30 years ago.

Kristalina Georgieva, who in 2017 became the World Bank's chief officer, will assume the role of when Kim departs, the said. Georgieva, a Bulgarian national, had previously held senior posts after serving 15 years at the World Bank, starting as an in 1993.

Two people familiar with Kim's shock announcement to the World Bank board said he was leaving of his own accord and was "not pushed out" by the

President Donald Trump, however, will wield strong influence in choosing Kim's successor as the holds a controlling share of the World Bank's voting rights.

The bank president has traditionally been an American chosen by the U.S. administration, but some of the multilateral lender's 189 member countries could mount a new challenge with alternative candidates. Korean-American Kim faced challengers from and when he was first nominated in 2012.

A for the U.S. Treasury, which oversees the U.S. voting interest in the World Bank said: "We appreciate Mr. Kim's service to the World Bank," adding that Treasury "looks forward to working with his fellow governors in selecting a new leader."

David Malpass, the Treasury's undersecretary for international affairs, has questioned the need for additional resources for the World Bank and other international financial institutions, arguing instead that the lenders should focus more of their resources on poorer countries and lend less to middle-income countries such as

Nonetheless, the Treasury backed a $13 billion capital increase for the World Bank last year, which imposed some lending and management reforms, including some caps to the rate of salary increases.

(This story corrects to show that Kim was president of Dartmouth College, not Princeton University, in paragraph 5)

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by and Marguerita Choy)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 02:54 IST