(Bloomberg) -- Senior U.S. Treasury official David Malpass is the lone candidate to be the next president of the World Bank, paving the way for President Donald Trump’s pick to take the helm of the development lender in the coming weeks.
The World Bank’s executive board will interview Malpass before making its choice official ahead of the IMF’s annual spring meetings in April, the bank said in a statement. Countries had until Thursday morning in Washington to nominate candidates.
Trump nominated Malpass last month, choosing a loyalist who had been sharply critical of China and called for a shakeup of the global economic order. Critics including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz questioned the selection, pointing to Malpass’s doubts about international cooperation.
Before his nomination, Malpass portrayed the World Bank as too big, inefficient and reluctant to cut funding for developing countries that grow into dynamic emerging markets. He pushed the bank to lend less to China, arguing the world’s second-biggest economy has the financial resources to support itself.
But since being nominated, Malpass has adopted a gentler tone, noting that he was America’s lead negotiator on a package of reforms under which the bank will receive a $13-billion capital increase. Under the plan, the bank will focus more lending on lower-income countries.
The World Bank was conceived during the Second World War to finance the reconstruction of Europe, but its mission has evolved to focus on eliminating extreme poverty around the world.
Malpass would succeed Jim Yong Kim, who stepped down Feb. 1 to join an investment firm. Kristalina Georgieva, chief executive officer of the bank, has been acting as the interim president.
The position of World Bank president has historically gone to an American, while a European has led its sister organization, the International Monetary Fund. Some observers have called for the bank to break with tradition and appoint a non-American in recognition of the growing clout of emerging markets such as China and India, and the lender’s focus on development.
Malpass, 63, held senior posts at the Treasury and State department under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. He served as chief economist at Bear Stearns, an investment bank that collapsed during the global financial crisis.
As Treasury undersecretary for international affairs under Trump, he represents the U.S. at international economic gatherings including G-20 summits and the IMF and World Bank meetings.
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