From Critic to Cheerleader — David Malpass’ First Week at the World Bank
Monday, April 15, 2019
By Sophie Edwards, Michael Igoe
The World Bank Spring Meetings, which concluded on Sunday, might have lacked the policy significance that accompanied last year’s negotiations over the terms of the institution’s capital increase, but they did offer something else: a first glimpse of David Malpass as the bank’s president.
When the institution’s new leader stepped into the atrium last Tuesday morning to address World Bank staff for the first time, he faced a room full of employees and partners looking for reassurance that he will not upend the institution or rewrite its priorities. Many of them were also hoping to see a different kind of leadership than what they witnessed over the last six years.
When Malpass uttered the words “climate change” — an issue that had driven a wedge between his background in the Trump administration and his mandate at the bank — there was an almost audible sigh of relief. His general demeanor, at times unpolished and stumbling over his words, seemed to take the edge off a figure said to have “the most hard-edged biography of any past World Bank president.”
Photo courtesy of Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank.