Reporting from Washington — President Obama on Friday nominated Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim, a physician and anthropologist by training, to succeed Robert Zoellick as the next president of the World Bank.
The naming of Kim was seen as a surprise. Kim, 52, though highly regarded for his leadership in global health issues, is not well known in political or financial circles. But the appointment of the South Korean-born Kim may also deflect criticisms from developing economies of the United States having a lock on the World Bank's top position.
Kim, president of Dartmouth since 2009, was the former director of the World Health Organization's HIV/Aids department. Kim moved with his family to the United States at age 5 and grew up in Muscatine, Iowa, according to his biography posted in Dartmouth's website. He graduated from Brown University and received his medical degree from Harvard.
Zoellick, who has been president of the World Bank since 2007, said last month that he would step down after his five-year term ends in June.
Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala also was nominated on Friday for the top post. Other candidates included Jeffrey Sachs, a development economist at Columbia University who has actively campaigned for the position.
Since its creation in 1944, the World Bank has always been headed by an American. The 187-member institution focuses on development loans and fighting poverty.