Treasury Secretary John Snow on Sunday would not rule out the idea of Irish singer Bono, an activist on debt relief and AIDS, making the short list of potential candidates to lead the World Bank even though an American is expected to get the job.
“He’s somebody I admire. He does a lot of good in this world of economic development,” Snow said.
“Most people know him as a rock star. He’s in a way a rock star of the development world, too. He understands the give-and-take of development. He’s a very pragmatic, effective and idealistic person,” Snow said.
Snow is part of the Bush administration team working on finding a successor to James Wolfensohn, who is stepping down as head of the development bank on June 1.
Asked whether the Irish singer would make the short list of candidates that Snow is preparing for President Bush, the secretary said: “I am not going to review here all the candidates that are on the list. But I will attest to my admiration for Bono.”
Bono toured Africa with Snow’s predecessor, Paul O’Neill, who focused a lot of attention during his time at the Treasury on poverty and diseases such as AIDS in Africa.
Bono has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for international social justice efforts that include trying to persuade rich nations to relieve the debt of poor nations.
Another candidate who has surfaced is Carly Fiorina, the recently ousted chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Co.
“She’s also a friend and somebody I think well of,” Snow told ABC’s “This Week.” But, he added, “I think we’re going to have to wait to reveal that next president of the World Bank for a little while.”
The administration began the search for Wolfensohn’s successor in early January and said it would talk to other countries that belong to the 184-nation World Bank. The administration wants to name a replacement before Wolfensohn’s term ends.
The United States is the World Bank’s largest member nation. The bank traditionally has had an American president.
“I fully expect that to be the case, yes, and so do the G-7 (Group of Seven) finance ministers and all of the participants in the process,” Snow said. “I’ve had any number of calls from finance ministers from around the world saying they want it to be an American.”
The bank’s sister institution, the International Monetary Fund, traditionally has been headed by a European.
Other names floated for the World Bank job include: John Taylor, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for international affairs; Peter McPherson, the former head of Michigan State University who served as Bush’s point man on rebuilding Iraq’s financial system; Randall Tobias, Bush’s global AIDS coordinator; and Christine Todd Whitman, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency.