WASHINGTON, May 29, 2007 (AFP) – US President George W. Bush was on Wednesday to name administration pointman Robert Zoellick to head the World Bank, replacing Paul Wolfowitz, who quit over a favoritism scandal involving his bank employee girlfriend. The naming of the steady, stalwart Zoellick was meant to end weeks of upheaval in the 63-year old global financial institution, which was rocked to its core by the scandal over Wolfowitz’s role in crafting the compensation package for his girlfriend, Shaha Riza.
Wolfowitz has headed the bank since 2005 and agreed to step down on May 17. He will leave his post on June 30, after a six-week scandal over the incident.
Wolfowitz’s previous job was as deputy defense secretary, where he became one of the chief architects of the Iraq War.
That made him an unpopular figure with many at the bank and made his two-year tenure rockier.
Zoellick, who left government last year to join the Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs, was also among senior US officials who urged military action to oust Saddam Hussein, but is seen as less controversial, in part because of his sterling credentials.
“Bob Zoellick’s experience and long career in international trade, finance and diplomacy make him uniqu