World Bank chief David Malpass to step down early

President faced calls to leave office over comments on climate change last year

World Bank President David Malpass at a global trade event in Washington. AFP
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World Bank Group President David Malpass announced plans on Wednesday to step down at the end of June, before his term is up.

Mr Malpass, who was nominated to the position in 2019 by then-president Donald Trump, faced calls to step down last September when he made controversial comments about climate change.

Following the resulting backlash, he insisted that he was not a climate change denier and that he would not step down — but he appears to have changed his mind.

“It has been an enormous honour and privilege to serve as president of the world’s premier development institution alongside so many talented and exceptional people,” Mr Malpass said in a statement.

“With developing countries facing unprecedented crises, I’m proud that the Bank Group has responded with speed, scale, innovation and impact.”

Mr Malpass served in the position at the beginning of the Covid pandemic and Russia's war on Ukraine.

“This is an opportunity for a smooth leadership transition as the Bank Group works to meet increasing global challenges,” he said, in reference to the food crisis and climate change, among other issues.

It was not clear why Mr Malpass had made the decision to leave the organisation before his five-year term ends, simply saying he had “decided to pursue new challenges”.

His LinkedIn post says he was “looking for ways to improve people's lives and living standards”.

The bank said it had doubled its climate response financing for developing countries in 2022 to $32 billion.

Updated: February 15, 2023, 10:31 PM