Jim Kim creates new World Bank managerial role to oversee operations

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim at the financial institution’s office in Nairobi, Kenya. Kim recently announced the replacements for the two top management positions that were vacated a month ago. Photo by: Dominic Chavez / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim appointed Friday two new executives to fill positions vacated last month amid the bank’s ongoing internal reform process, and announced the creation of a new management role: senior vice president of operations.

“[Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer] Sri Mulyani and I have decided that we need greater senior managerial oversight to maintain a high level of delivery of our operations,” Kim wrote in a memo to staff obtained by Devex, adding that the new position will report directly to Mulyani.

The institution’s reorganization has been tumultuous since Kim’s initial announcement in July that he planned to cut $400 million from the budget. Weekly staff protests in the bank’s atrium highlight discontent among employees, and not all staff agree that more senior managers is the answer. Some complain that the organization already has enough executives.

“Even before the new VP appointment, there was a feeling like the bank is top-heavy,” said a current bank employe who requested to remain anonymous to avoid repercussions. “From the very bottom to the middle of bank staff, there is severe distrust in the way things are being run. It’s like we’re reorganizing in real time.”

Staff distribute yellow flyers every week to spread the word about planned protests. The most recent message announced that a protest scheduled for Nov. 13 would be postponed in order to give the senior management team a week to “show concrete actions beyond the recent public relations efforts.”

Some in the bank believe the latest decision could be management’s response to staff grievances.

“If anything, it may signify a sincere attempt at trying to fix this structure that has been created. I think it’s by and large a good sign,” another anonymous senior staff member told Devex.

Annette Dixon, appointed as regional vice president for South Asia, served as country director for Southeast Asia covering Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand and the Greater Mekong subregion. Previously she was sector director for human development and strategy for Europe and Central Asia region and director of strategic planning in the Budget, Performance Review and the Strategic Planning Vice Presidency.

Hafez Ghanem, an Egyptian and French national, has worked at the bank for 24 years. After serving as a junior and later a senior economist for West Africa and South Asia, he later worked on Europe and Central Asia where he was sector leader for public economics and trade policy. In 2000, he returned to Africa as country director for Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles and in 2004 became country director for Nigeria.

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About the author

  • Molly Anders

    Molly Anders is a former U.K. correspondent for Devex. Based in London, she reports on development finance trends with a focus on British and European institutions. She is especially interested in evidence-based development and women’s economic empowerment, as well as innovative financing for the protection of migrants and refugees. Molly is a former Fulbright Scholar and studied Arabic in Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco.