News that the World Bank is hunting for a new leader brought forth fresh denials that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is yearning for the job.
Robert Zoellick, president of the international financial institution, announced in a statement Wednesday that he plans to step down at the end of June, when his five-year term ends. The U.S. president traditionally appoints the chief of the Washington-based global bank.
In a letter to the World Bank’s staff, Zoellick praised the organization for its work at a time of global economic turmoil. To help poor countries facing rising food prices, the bank assembled a rapid response fund of $1.5 billion that reached 40 million people, he said.
Clinton long has been mentioned as a possible successor to Zoellick, and a news report last spring said she had engaged in discussions with White House officials about taking the high-profile post as a career-capping assignment.
The reports seemed credible given Clinton’s strong interest in international development. But the former first lady and U.S. senator flatly denied any interest, saying she looked forward to getting out of the fast lane.
Clinton’s Sherman-like denials from last spring remained “operative,” an aide said Wednesday.
“She has said this is not happening,” said Victoria Nuland, the chief State Department spokesperson. “Her view has not changed.”