World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim on Monday stepped down from his post abruptly for more than three years ahead of the end of his term. He will leave his post on February 1st. The Korean-American anthropologist was serving as the World Bank President since 2012.

The news comes to fore few days after Jim wrote to his employees in the World Bank saying that he is leaving the world’s largest lender to join a private-sector firm focused on infrastructure investments in the developing world.

“The opportunity to join the private sector was unexpected, but I’ve concluded that this is the path through which I will be able to make the largest impact on major global issues like climate change and the infrastructure deficit in emerging markets,” Kim said.

“The work of the World Bank Group is more important now than ever as the aspirations of the poor rise all over the world, and problems like climate change, pandemics, famine and refugees continue to grow in both their scale and complexity,” Kim said in a statement. “Serving as president and helping position the institution squarely in the middle of all these challenges has been a great privilege.”

Kim, appointed twice by former US President Barack Obama for five-year terms, had pushed financing for green energy projects and largely dropped support for coal power investments. However, he had avoided public clashes with the Trump administration, which has made reviving the U.S. coal sector a priority, an international news agency reported.

Kristalina Georgieva, who in 2017 became the World Bank’s chief executive officer and, will assume the role of interim president when Kim departs, the bank said. Georgieva, a Bulgarian national, had previously held senior European Union posts after serving 15 years at the World Bank, starting as an environmental economist in 1993.

The report by the news agency further stated that two people familiar with Kim’s shock announcement to the World Bank executive board said he was leaving of his own accord and was “not pushed out” by the Trump administration.

Kim, who is also a global health leader, was formerly the Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He was the co-founder and executive director of Partners In Health before serving as the President of Dartmouth College from 2009 to 2012, becoming the first Asian American president of an Ivy League institution.

Kim was named the world’s 50th most powerful person by Forbes Magazine’s List of The World’s Most Powerful People in 2013.


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