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Created: March 2, 2005
Latest Update: March 3, 2005

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By Elizabeth Becker
SOURCE: New York Times
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March 2, 2005
Fiorina Called Candidate for World Bank
By ELIZABETH BECKER

WASHINGTON, March 1 - Carleton S. Fiorina, who lost her job as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard almost three weeks ago, has emerged as a strong candidate to become president of the World Bank, according to an official in the Bush administration.

Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, was also under serious consideration, according to the official, who refused to be identified because discussion about the candidates is continuing.

But the Defense Department insisted on Tuesday that Mr. Wolfowitz would remain in place as deputy secretary of defense.

Its spokesman, Lawrence Di Rita, declared in a statement, "As we've said before, Secretary Wolfowitz has been asked to stay on in an extremely important job, one that he likes doing very much."

As a powerful No. 2 man at the Pentagon, a departure for the World Bank by Mr. Wolfowitz could have great effects on military policy.

Yet a nomination of Mr. Wolfowitz could face opposition from European nations that see him as a principal architect of the Iraq war.

Robert B. Zoellick, until last week the United States trade representative, had been the White House's candidate to succeed the current bank president, James D. Wolfensohn, who completes his second five-year term in May. But officials reopened the search when Mr. Zoellick was selected to be deputy secretary of state.

The short list also includes Randall L. Tobias, global AIDS coordinator for the White House, who is a former chief executive of Eli Lilly & Company, and John B. Taylor, under secretary of the Treasury for international affairs. M. Peter McPherson, former president of Michigan State University, is no longer considered a leading candidate. A long shot is Representative Jim Leach, Republican of Iowa, who is a specialist on aid and development.

The decision rests on several factors, including the results of consultations with members of the World Bank, politics within the Bush administration and a closer scrutiny of the candidates.

The deputy spokesman for the Treasury Department, Tony Fratto, said there was no timeline for making an appointment.

The Treasury Department, which handles the recommendation process, would not comment on the prospects for Mr. Wolfowitz, which were first reported Tuesday in The Financial Times, or on those of any other candidate.

"We don't comment or speculate on personnel decisions," Mr. Fratto said.

By tradition, the United States chooses the head of the World Bank while the Europeans select the director of the International Monetary Fund. The countries left out of the process would like that changed.

With this choice, President Bush would have a chance to name his own person to be the spokesman for the world's poor. Increasingly, Mr. Bush has pushed to put his mark on foreign aid policy, stressing help for countries meeting his criteria for responsible government. In the new budget proposal, foreign aid was spared the deep cuts made in many domestic programs.

Whether Mr. Wolfowitz would be the best candidate to pursue these ideas is susceptible to questions by other countries that are major forces at the World Bank.

Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development, a nonpartisan institute, said, "I don't think there's any question that the Europeans would want to veto Wolfowitz, and they would view his nomination as an act of bad faith on the part of the administration."

The Europeans could take a page from the United States and block a nomination of Mr. Wolfowitz just as President Bill Clinton's administration blocked the appointment of Caio Koch Weser, the German candidate to head the International Monetary Fund. The United States considered him too weak for the position.

Ms. Fiorina, the only woman on the list, carries far less political baggage than Mr. Wolfowitz and has a reputation for dynamic leadership. As the head of a Fortune 500 company for six years, she gained executive experience that put her near the top of the list for the job. She would also add glamour as probably the only candidate famous enough to be widely known by her nickname - Carly.

Lael Brainard, director of the poverty and global initiative at the Brookings Institute, said, "Her candidacy is within the traditional mold in that America has on occasion gone to someone with a proven record in the corporate world because, at the end of the day, the World Bank is a big management challenge."

Mr. Wolfowitz, as assistant secretary of state for East Asia and United States ambassador to Indonesia, oversaw policy for parts of the developing world. But neither he nor Ms. Fiorina is an expert in development.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company



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