Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, who is at odds with the Trump administration over climate issues, unexpectedly announced his resignation from the institution, effective February 1.
The 59-year-old physician and public health advocate was not scheduled to leave until 2022, the scheduled end of his second term. He served the organization for six years after being nominated in 2012 by President Barack Obama for two terms. Kim’s focus favored green energy investments over coal and fossil fuels. During his tenure, he mainly pushed for building infrastructure in developing countries.
“It has been a great honor 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.”
Kim has had issues with President Trump’s policies on climate change, but officials have said he left the multilateral lender under his own power. Kristalina Georgieva, the organization’s chief executive officer, will assume the role of interim president until a successor is named. Trump will hold strong influence over who the next World Bank leader will be. The US administration usually chooses the group’s presidents.
Once he departs, Kim will immediately “join a firm and focus on increasing infrastructure investments in developing countries.”
He will also re-join the board of Partners in Health, which he co-founded more than 30 years ago, and keep his positions at Brown University as a trustee and a senior fellow.
“I look forward to working once again with my longtime friends and colleagues at PIH on a range of issues in global health and education,” Kim said. “I will also continue my engagement with Brown University as a trustee of the Corporation and look forward to serving as a Senior Fellow at Brown’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.”
At 189-nations strong, the World Bank is the largest government development funding source in the world.