Bush to Name Zoellick to Lead World Bank; Will Replace Embattled Wolfowitz

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Hirsch, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President Bush is expected to announce today that he will nominate former U.S. Trade Representative and Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick to replace Paul Wolfowitz as World Bank president, a senior Bush administration official said yesterday.

"Bob Zoellick's experience and long career in international trade, finance and diplomacy make him uniquely prepared to take on this challenge," said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

"He has the trust and respect of many officials around the world, and believes deeply in the World Bank's mission of lifting people out of poverty. ... We have received positive reaction from other countries," the official said

Mr. Zoellick was among the candidates whose names have been circulating in recent weeks as Mr. Wolfowitz faced increasing pressure to step down and finally announced his resignation May 17 amid revelations that he broke bank rules by arranging a pay package for his girlfriend. He said he would resign at the end of June.

Mr. Zoellick left the State Department in June 2006 to be come a managing director at New York investment firm Goldman Sachs Group, where Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. was chairman until June 2006. Mr. Paulson was in charge of the search for Mr. Wolfowitz's successor.

As U.S. trade representative, Mr. Zoellick completed talks to grant China and Taiwan entry into the World Trade Organization during Mr. Bush's first term and was later named deputy secretary of state.

He also worked on free-trade deals with Singapore, Chile, Australia and Morocco, and was a driving force behind the Central America Free Trade Agreement with five Central American countries and the Dominican Republic.

He would serve a five-year term, subject to the approval of the bank's 24-member board, which represents its 185 member countries.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican and the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees international trade issues, said yesterday that he had "a lot of respect" for Mr. Zoellick.

"He's extremely capable, and through his leadership for international trade, I know he has a real understanding of what it takes to advance economic development in poor countries," Mr. Grassley said.

At the World Bank, Mr. Grassley said, he hoped Mr. Zoellick would "continue the vigorous campaign that Paul Wolfowitz started against corruption in beneficiary countries."

"Paul Wolfowitz may have been railroaded out of his job, but his initiative must continue," Mr. …