Earlier the US had notified the Bank's board that it favored the appointment for a further five-year term of Wolfensohn, who arrived at the Bank in June 1995.
Wolfensohn, the World Bank Group's ninth President since 1946, will be the third one to serve a second term. (Robert McNamara was president from 1968 to 1981; Eugene Black served from 1949 to 1962.)
Among Wolfensohn’s accomplishments over the last four years are initiation, with the IMF, of the multilateral debt relief proposal for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), and a major Bank reform project—the Strategic Compact, and battling corruption.
Prior to joining the Bank, Wolfensohn was an international investment banker. His last position was as President and Chief Executive Officer of James D. Wolfensohn Inc., his own investment firm set up in 1981 to advise major US and international corporations.
Born in Australia in December 1933, Wolfensohn is a naturalized US citizen.
Wolfensohn is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the American Philosophical Society. He has been the recipient of many awards for his volunteer work, including the first David Rockefeller Prize of the Museum of Modern Art in New York for his work for culture and the arts.
In May 1995 he was awarded an Honorary Knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to the arts. Wolfensohn has also been decorated by the governments of Australia, France, Germany, Morocco, and Norway. In 1999, the government of Georgia decorated him with the Order of the Golden Fleece “in recognition of his special contribution to the cause of building the Georgian State, implementation of economic reforms, and preservation of Georgia's cultural legacy.”
The President of the World Bank is ex officio chairman of the Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). He is ex officio chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the Administrative Council of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
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