The Asian Development Bank has elevated a seasoned official and appointed two others that could raise China’s clout at the financial institution at a time when the country is gearing up to launch a new regional infrastructure bank.
Columbia University professor Wei Shang-Jin, a U.S. citizen of Chinese descent, was named chief economist at the Manila-based finance institution, while Tang Dingding will chair the bank’s Compliance Review Panel for the next five years starting June 10.
Meanwhile, Juan Miranda, the director general of ADB’s South Asia regional department, has been promoted to managing director general, a position directly under the office of President Takehiko Nakao. Along with six vice presidents, he will provide strategic and operational direction to the bank, where he has worked for over 20 years. There’s no word yet on who will succeed Miranda at the South Asia department as of posting time.
Wei has held senior positions in various multilateral institutions including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and United Nations. In 2012, local reports suggested he was a lead candidate for the World Bank’s chief economist, a position he didn’t get. For ADB, he will serve as spokesperson on economic and development trends as well as oversee the publication of the bank’s various knowledge products, including the Asian Development Outlook.
Tang, for his part, has done international cooperation and environmental protection work for the United Nations as well as the Chinese government. As CRP chair, he will handle safeguards complaints and inquiries on all ADB projects as well as coordinate solutions with the bank’s board as the multilateral institution strengthens its safeguards policy after controversies were reported in some of its projects, including a railway rehabilitation program in Cambodia and an energy project in India.
The appointment of Wei and Tang comes at a time when the Chinese government is taking steps to create another regional development bank, tentatively called the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, raising the stakes in the quest for Asia’s top talent.
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