Change is coming to the World Bank… or is it?

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. The president's long-awaited reform is now set in motion, although its future is still uncertain. Photo by: Ryan Rayburn / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

Employees are anxiously awaiting what happens next as President Jim Yong Kim’s World Bank reform agenda moves from a flurry of proposals down an uncertain path toward implementation.

Already, 43 reform proposals submitted by staff working groups have caused internal message boards to light up with anonymous comments that run the gamut from enthusiastic support to deep skepticism. The rampant speculation is testing the leadership’s ability to manage employee expectations.

The bank’s long-awaited transformation took a sudden, unexpected turn last month when Kim sent an internal memo to announce the impending departure of two managing directors with more than 50 years of bank experience between them — Caroline Anstey and Pamela Cox.

Kim gave no explanation for their departure in the memo, leading to widespread rumors and conjecture as to why they were asked to leave so suddenly, according to several World Bank staff members Devex spoke with in the past few days. Most World Bank sources asked to remain anonymous in order not to run afoul the bank’s strict disclosure policies.

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About the author

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    Michael Igoe

    Michael Igoe is a Senior Reporter with Devex, based in Washington, D.C. He covers U.S. foreign aid, global health, climate change, and development finance. Prior to joining Devex, Michael researched water management and climate change adaptation in post-Soviet Central Asia, where he also wrote for EurasiaNet. Michael earned his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College, where he majored in Russian, and his master’s degree from the University of Montana, where he studied international conservation and development.