White House narrowing choices for World Bank president

The White House is whittling down its list of candidates to take over as the World Bank’s next president.

On the White House’s short list are former Obama economic advisor Lawrence Summers, PepsiCo. Inc. CEO Indra Nooyi and United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, Reuters reported.

Reuters said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry’s name had also been floated but that a spokeswoman said he wasn’t interested.

The Obama administration also had considered Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates and Brown University President Ruth Simmons, Bloomberg reported.

The White House is searching for a candidate to replace Robert Zoellick, who plans to step down when his term expires in June.

In its search, the Obama administration is looking beyond the usual banking and government sectors. The administration is seeking a candidate who “would be well-positioned to prevail if a coalition of developing countries were to rally behind a non-U.S. candidate,” Bloomberg said.

The powerful emerging market nations known as the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – last month said they would consider putting forth their own candidate for the top World Bank spot.

More from GlobalPost: BRICS consider their own candidate for top World Bank job

While none has yet emerged, the countries have long been seeking increased power at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as their economic clout has grown.

Since the institutions were established after World War II, the World Bank has been led by an American and the International Monetary Fund has been led by a European.

Countries have until March 23 to forward candidates for the job. A final decision is expected in April.

“If Obama chose a woman, he would be breaking the mold for a job that has always been held by a white male, a move that could garner support from developing nations,” Reuters said.

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