THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON RECOMMENDS WORLD BANK BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECT
WOLFENSOHN AS WORLD BANK PRESIDENT
The President has directed U.S. Executive Director of the World Bank Jan Piercy to recommend that the World Bank Board of Directors elect James D. Wolfensohn as the next President of the World Bank, to succeed Lewis T. Preston.
The President said, "I am pleased to announce that I will ask the U.S. Executive Director of the World Bank to take to its board of directors my recommendation for the Bank's presidency: James D. Wolfensohn.
"James Wolfensohn has already had an extraordinary career in finance and public service, spanning four decades and three continents. The investment firm of which he is President and CEO, James D. Wolfensohn, Inc. of New York, is active around the world. Under his leadership, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts here in Washington has flourished. In addition, Mr. Wolfensohn was previously an Executive Partner of Salomon Brothers in New York and Chairman of Salomon Brothers International in London; Principal Executive Officer of the Schroder Banking Group in London; and Managing Director of Darling and Co. in Australia.
"Mr. Wolfensohn also has had a long-standing, broad and active interest in the developing world and development issues. He has served as a member of the boards of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Population Council, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and the Business Council for Sustainable Development.
"Mr. Wolfensohn's diverse and distinguished career has made him well known in finance and government circles around the world. And he has worked with members of both parties of the United States Congress, who share my admiration for him. At a time when the role and mission of and funding for the World Bank and other international financial institutions are major issues, the deep respect Jim Wolfensohn already enjoys will allow him to serve as a forceful advocate for the Bank and development issues."
The President also praised outgoing President of the World Bank, Lewis Preston. "Lew's strong management direction leaves a large legacy on which Jim can now build. Under his leadership, the World Bank is playing a major, constructive role in regions such as the Middle East, Russia and the former Soviet Union. We are deeply grateful for the dedicated leadership he has provided the World Bank and the commitment to public service he has given his nation."
Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin commented on the nomination of Mr. Wolfensohn, "Recent events in Mexico and the former Soviet Union demonstrate the need for institutions like the World Bank to evolve and adjust to international economic and financial challenges. It is also essential that the World Bank continue to address its core mission of combating poverty and providing economic opportunity for the poorest regions of the world. Jim Wolfensohn's private sector experience, combined with real energy and vitality, make him the right person for the job."