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Wolfowitz Agrees to Resign at the End of June

Associated Press:

Embattled World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz will resign at the end of June, he and the bank said late Thursday, ending his long fight to survive pressure for his ouster over the generous compensation he arranged for his girlfriend.

His departure ends a two-year run at the development bank that was marked by controversy from the start, given his previous role as a major architect of the Iraq war when he served as the No. 2 official at the Pentagon.

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Comments (3)

Paul Hamilton:

There's nothing in that story about whether other nations are still going to allow the United States to choose the head of the World Bank. I know that was the subject of some heated discussions following this terrible appointment by Bush..

The White House announced this morning that they are looking for a replacement The appointment requires World Bank Board approval, and that may be more difficult now that Germany in particular has become so vocal.

Germany lashed out at World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz after he agreed to quit, saying he harmed the bank with a leadership style that destroyed his support. The criticism Thursday by Germany's representative on the bank's 24-member board went far beyond the board's statement on the resignation, which avoided condemning Wolfowitz under a deal designed to win US accceptance.

Eckhard Deutscher, the German director, said Wolfowitz's failings ran deeper than the immediate problem - a promotion and pay increase he arranged for his girlfriend, who worked at the bank when he became its head in 2005.

Underlying reasons included his management style, lack of consultation with the board on decisions, lack of a vision for the World Bank's mission and his focus on protecting his reputation, Deutscher said.

The administration's actions in supporting Wolfie, way past the time came to drop such support, angered Germany (and others) because it damaged the banks' reputation further.

Chalk up another Republican't failure.

More on where things stand now:

The terms of Paul Wolfowitz's departure as president of the World Bank caused immediate divisions within the institution.

The staff association said the board had further eroded employee confidence by accepting that Mr Wolfowitz had acted in good faith over a generous secondment package awarded to Shaha Riza, his girlfriend. Mr Wolfowitz won acknowledgement both of his service and his key assertion that the bank shared responsibility for the controversy.

Allison Cave, head of the staff association, said: "We are pleased that he is leaving. But it is unacceptable that he stays a day longer.

"The board statement and the term will damage staff confidence in the board and make reform more difficult."

Daniel Kaufman, a governance expert at the bank, said the terms of his departure - effective from June 30 - were likely to be regarded as outrageous but might provide a basis for reconciliation between the US and European governments. He said there was still an "opportunity for a serious introspection as to the failings in governance. It was too easy to blame it all on the boss. It is necessary that he goes but it is not sufficient.

"It is important that the institution not succumb to inertia. The day after an ethics scandal like this is the day to begin a serious conversation about reform," Mr Kaufman said.


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