World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, 59, will resign on Feb. 1. He suddenly expressed his intention to resign when his term is three years away.
According to Reuters and the Associated Press, Kim expressed his intention to resign in a statement, saying, "It was a great honor to serve as the president of an organization filled with passionate people dedicated to the mission of eradicating extreme poverty."
The World Bank said in a statement that World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva will temporarily take the role of the president starting Feb. 1.
"I will join a private company that focuses on investment in infrastructure in developing countries," Kim said in an e-mail to his staff on the day. "Although I did not expect opportunities to participate in the private sector, I concluded that this is the way to have the biggest impact on major global issues such as climate change and lack of infrastructure in emerging markets." However, he did not explain the concrete reason for his resignation.
The U.S. media raised the strained relationship between the World Bank and the Donald Trump U.S. administration. The U.S. has been criticizing the World Bank for lending to China. Also, Kim`s massive restructuring of the World Bank led to high levels of discontent within the organization, some media pointed out.
Meanwhile, Reuters quoted sources as saying, "Kim's decision was made on his own. It was not backed up by the Trump administration."
Kim, a Korean-American, became the first Asian-born World Bank president in 2012. He succeeded in serving consecutive terms in September 2016 and started serving a new five-year term from July 2017.