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Indra Nooyi to Head World Bank?

The World Bank to the layman may seem like a bank that is involved in the activity of lending money to different countries at a certain rate of interest or acting like a regulatory authority on world banking matters (like how the RBI is to India). It is far from that. It is not a bank in the ordinary sense of the word, but an organisation dedicated to providing financing, advising and research to developing nations and attempts to fight poverty by providing developmental assistance to middle and poor income countries. A quick glance at its official website reveals that it has set two goals for the world to achieve by the year 2030.

  • End extreme poverty by decreasing the percentage of people living on less than $ 1.90 a day to no more than 3%.
  • Promote shared prosperity by fostering the income growth of the bottom 40% for every country.

It was established in 1944 and is headquartered in Washington D.C. and has more than 10,000 employees in more than 120 offices worldwide.

What is interesting to note is that all Presidents of the World Bank have always been American because the USA is the largest shareholder in the Bank. However, the nominee by the USA is subject to confirmation by the Board of Executive Directors. The President is nominated for a 5-year term and can be re-elected on the post.

In a very interesting development that has just surfaced and even though it in its nascent stages as of now, but can be looked upon as a matter of pride for our nation, is that an Indian-American businesswoman is being considered for the post of President of this highly prestigious organisation. Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the world’s second-largest food and beverage company by revenue and the pride of burgeoning India’s educated class – Indra Nooyi.

Being consistently ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women, including holding the # 1 position on Fortune magazine’s list in 2009 and 2010, Mrs. Nooyi’s early life and education were in India. It was in 1978 in her early 20’s that she was admitted to the world famous Yale School of Management. She went on to work at companies such as Boston Consulting Group, Johnson & Johnson, Motorola and more. It was in 1994 that she joined PepsiCo and went on to work with them for 12 years eventually leading the global food and beverage giant – the rest is history.

In what can be said to be a testament to her illustrious career, The White House is considering Indra Nooyi for the position of World Bank President according to several people familiar with the process, a New York Times article has suggested. President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter and advisor, Ivanka Trump, who is playing a role in the selection of the nominee, has courted Mrs. Nooyi as an administration ally. Ivanka has even previously stated that she considers Indra Nooyi as a “mentor + inspiration”. Mrs. Nooyi was also one of the handful of chosen business leaders called to dine with President Donald Trump at his private golf club in New Jersey in August of last year to present their views on how the economy was doing. Even though she is not the only candidate and the process is still in the initial stages, the Indian-American businesswoman is thought to have the best chance of securing the spot.

However, what could stand against Mrs. Nooyi are the negative comments made by her after the 2016 Presidential elections, during which she did not publicly endorse any candidate. Trump’s win, she said, created a lot of questions among her daughters and her employees. She went on to make statements such as “Our employees are all crying” and “people are asking, are we safe?” Nooyi later clarified her remarks and through a spokesperson went on to say that she misspoke and stated she was only referring to a group of employees who were apprehensive about the outcome of the election.

The World Bank’s current President, Jim Yong Kim, said earlier this month he would step down from his post in February to join a private infrastructure investment firm, an unexpected departure that comes nearly 3 years before the end of his second consecutive term.  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 is expected to begin the interview process on Tuesday, in order to present President Trump with recommendations for a nominee.

 

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