Ivanka Trump, President Trump’s daughter and senior White House adviser, will help Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney lead the process of selecting the next World Bank president.
Ms. Trump isn’t a candidate for the position but will “help manage the U.S. nomination process as she’s worked closely with the World Bank’s leadership for the past two years,” according a White House representative.
The selection is shaping up as a test of the Trump administration’s international clout. The World Bank president has always been an American, but this outcome isn’t guaranteed. The abrupt resignation of the bank’s president Jim Yong Kim has created an opportunity for countries seeking a non-American to lead the World Bank.
Any American candidate will have to win approval from the World Bank’s board of executive directors, which formally runs the selection process. The board comprises 25 representatives chosen from among the bank’s 189 member countries.
The largest shareholders of the World Bank—including the U.S., China, Japan, and Germany—each have an individual director who represents their interests. Smaller countries share directors.
The U.S. has the largest voting share of any individual country, at about 16%, but blocs of countries—including the European Union—have larger voting shares. Traditionally, the U.S. picks the head of the World Bank while Europe selects the chief of the International Monetary Fund.
Washington faces a potentially tricky balancing act in making its appointment. The World Bank’s board of directors has said a candidate must be committed to multilateralism, while some Trump administration officials have been critical of multilateral institutions like the World Bank, which is the leading international development finance institution.
A strong American candidate, however, could prevent an insurgent candidate from gaining traction, especially since Mr. Kim’s unexpected resignation left other countries little time to coordinate a non-American pick.
“If the U.S. put up a credible name and emerging markets don’t have their act together, they’re in much better position,” said Mark Sobel, a former Treasury official who is U.S. chairman of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, a London-based think tank. “If they put forward someone who is openly critical of multilateralism, it would enhance the chances of effective opposition and pushback.”
Ms. Trump has worked with the World Bank since shortly after President Trump took office. In April 2017 she proposed a women’s entrepreneurship fund to the World Bank’s Mr. Kim.
He put the idea on the fast-track and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative was launched in October 2017, with commitments of more than $300 million to fund a series of financing programs for female entrepreneurs and small-business owners.
Ms. Trump has no formal governance role in the women’s entrepreneurship initiative now that the fund has launched, but she has promoted the fund in public remarks. She has also helped secure commitments from a number of countries to help support the fund, putting her in close contact with development finance officials who oversee their countries’ participation in the bank.
At the time of the initiative’s launch, commitments had been made by Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and the U.K.
Write to Josh Zumbrun at Josh.Zumbrun@wsj.com and Alex Leary at firstname.lastname@example.org