Obama May Pick Larry Summers to Head World Bank

President looking at controversial former economic adviser for international post.


President Obama is considering nominating Larry Summers, a former top economic adviser and National Economic Council director, to head the World Bank, according to a report in Bloomberg Wednesday.

Citing "two people familiar with the matter," Bloomberg reported that Summers has expressed interest in the position once current head Robert Zoellick's term expires later this year.

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Summers has served in various top government and financial roles throughout his career, including chief economist for the World Bank in 1991. During that tenure, he was criticized when a memo he had signed said that developing nations were "underpolluted."

Summers, who also served as former President Bill Clinton's treasury secretary, is currently a professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Goverment. Summers once served as the university's president, but stepped down in 2006 after a controversy surrounding disparging comments he made about women's intellectual ability in the subjects of science and math.

According to the Bloomberg report, Summers has the backing of current Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and NEC Director Gene Sperling.

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Other rumored candidates include Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The World Bank, established in 1944 with the International Monetary Fund, offers financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. The sitting U.S. president is responsible for nominating the head of the World Bank, while European leaders select the head of the IMF.