In recent months, picking up steam in recent weeks, there has been a massive exodus of top talent from the World Bank. According to reports, the senior Ethics Officer at the Bank has departed. Also on the exit roster are the Vice President for East Asia & Pacific, the Chief Legal Counsel, the Bank’s top Managing Director, the Director of Institutional Integrity (which monitors internal and external corruption), the Vice President for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development, and the head of ISG (Information Solutions Group).
According to one senior insider who feels as if Wolfowitz is gut-punching the most talented teams at the bank and indicated that morale is plummeting, “Wolfowitz just does not talk to his Vice Presidents. He speaks to a few close advisors — Kevin Kellems, Robin Cleveland, Karl Jackson, some others — but a lot of very good people are leaving.”
What Wolfowitz has done that has started a serious wave of negative sentiment against him among his ranks is that he has appointed Kevin Kellems — Vice President Cheney’s former Communications Director and Spokesman — as a “director” of the bank, which formally reports to a Vice President of the Bank — while at the same time making him Senior Advisor to Wolfowitz.
In other words, Wolfowitz is forcing a political appointment at the “director level” of the bank — which is never done. “Director” positions are fairly low in the World Bank bureaucracy and are filled by a competitive process and the merits of one’s work — not political imposition.
However, Wolfowitz on January 10, 2006 made Kellems Director of Strategy in the External Affairs, Communications and United Nations Affairs Vice Presidency while at the same time Senior Advisor to the President of the Bank.
Now, Presidents of corporations are allowed to make their mark however they see fit. That’s just how it goes.
But what about organizations like The World Bank? Is this type of multiple title (Director of Strategy in the External Affairs, Communications Vice President, United Nations Affairs Vice President and Senior Advisor to the President of the Bank) goverance appropriate?