WASHINGTON - The White House is considering former PepsiCo Inc Chief Executive Indra Nooyi, Treasury Department official David Malpass and Overseas Private Investment Corp CEO Ray Washburne among candidates to head the World Bank, an administration official said on Tuesday.
The trio of names surfaced a day after officials said President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump was helping lead the search for a new World Bank president to succeed Jim Yong Kim, who is stepping down on Feb. 1.
She “has been courted as an administration ally by Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter who is playing a role in the selection of a nominee,” the The New York Times said.
The report, which cited several people familiar with the process, said the decision-making process for the top post at the World Bank is “fluid and in its initial stages and early front-runners and candidates often fall off the radar, or withdraw from consideration, before the president (Donald Trump) makes his ultimate pick”.
Nooyi, who stepped down from her Pepsi position in October, Malpass, who is undersecretary of Treasury for international affairs, and Washburne, who has been the OPIC CEO since August 2017, are among several candidates being looked at to head the World Bank, an official told Reuters.
The United States, which has a controlling voting interest in the World Bank, has traditionally chosen the institution’s leader since it began operations in 1946.
Kim announced his surprise Feb. 1 departure earlier this month to join private equity fund Global Infrastructure Partners, more than three years before his term ends in 2022, amid differences with the Trump administration over climate change and the need for more development resources.
It is unclear whether Nooyi would accept the nomination if chosen by the Trump administration.
The first daughter, who has tweeted that she views Nooyi as a “mentor + inspiration”, has floated her name as a potential successor.
Trump has already faced harsh criticism for appointing his daughter as a senior White House advisor.
The NYT report said that the process of choosing Kim’s successor is being overseen by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Ivanka, whose role in the process was announced by the White House Monday.
The group was expected to begin the interview process Tuesday, in order to present President Trump with recommendations for a nominee.
Nooyi joined Trump’s business council, which was disbanded after many chief executives quit following the president’s comments blaming “many sides” for white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, in August 2017.
The report, however, added that negative comments made by Nooyi after the 2016 election, during which she did not publicly endorse any candidate, are seen as a potential roadblock to her nomination.
Following Trump’s win, she said at the NYT’s DealBook conference in 2016 that “Our employees are all crying. And the question that they’re asking, especially those who are not white: ‘Are we safe?’ Women are asking: ‘Are we safe?’ LGBT people are asking: ‘Are we safe?’ I never thought I’d have had to answer those questions”.
A spokesman for PepsiCo had told Fortune magazine that “Mrs. Nooyi misspoke. She was referring to the reaction of a group of employees she spoke to who were apprehensive about the outcome of the election. She never intended to imply that all employees feel the same way”.
(With inputs from PTI and Reuters)