President Barack Obama is considering naming Larry Summers, his former top economic advisor, as head of the World Bank, Bloomberg reports, citing "two people familiar with the matter."
Summers, a former U.S. Treasury Secretary, Harvard President and World Bank chief economist, has expressed interest in the job, according to Bloomberg. He has the backing of current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Obama's current top economic advisor Gene Sperling. Still, the administration is considering other candidates, including Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, to head the World Bank when the term of the current chief, Robert Zoellick, expires later this year, according to Bloomberg.
Summers has held a variety of positions both at elite levels of government and in other institutions, and at every move has seemed to engender controversy. Summers resigned as president of Harvard in 2006 after he battled with some faculty members was derided for comments he made in 2005, saying that women didn't have the genetic gifts to succeed in science and math.
Summers has also faced criticism since leaving the White House for not doing enough to set the country on a path towards economic recovery while he was head of the National Economic Council -- a position he held for nearly two years until the end of 2010. In addition, he engendered controversy for raking in millions from hedge funds and big banks before assuming his post.
He's also faced controversy at the World Bank. As the institution's chief economist, Summers signed off on a memo in 1992, which said, "I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that," according to The New York Times. He later apologized.
Under an unwritten agreement, the head of the World Bank has always been an American, while the IMF has always been headed by a European. Some emerging market leaders have questioned dividing the roles based on nationality in recent years, Bloomberg reports.
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