Past Presidents

This page, produced by the World Bank Group Archives, provides an overview of World Bank presidents' tenures highlighting their major contributions to the development of the institution and the challenges each of them faced. 

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    Robert B. Zoellick

    July 2007 - June 2012
    Mr. Zoellick modernized and recapitalized the Bank, ramping up its crisis response and making it more accountable, flexible, fast-moving, transparent, and focused on good governance and anti-corruption.
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    Paul Wolfowitz

    June 2005 - June 2007
    Known as a good governance banker who pushed through controversial governance and anti-corruption strategy after extensive global consultations. Placed Africa at the heart of the Bank's poverty reduction agenda.
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    James D. Wolfensohn

    June 1995 - May 2005
    Known as the "Renaissance Banker." Pushed through reforms that have made the Bank more inclusive, with a renewed focus on poverty reduction.
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    Lewis Preston

    September 1991 - May 1995
    Distinguished commercial banker. Created a client-oriented vision for the Bank as it celebrated its 50th anniversary.
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    Barber Conable

    July 1986 - August 1991
    Spurred on the "greening" of the Bank. "...became effective spokesman for the Bank and persuasively advanced the institution's reform agenda." - Banker's with a Mission: The Presidents of the World Bank, 1946-91, J. Kraske, 1996.
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    Alden Winship Clausen

    July 1981 - June 1986
    Improved the financial management of the Bank. Wrestled with the onset of recession and the 1980s debt.
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    Robert Strange McNamara

    April 1968 - June 1981
    Expansionist with a social consciousness. "...indefatigable builder and wielder of influence on behalf of the Bank and the development cause." - Banker's with a Mission: The Presidents of the World Bank, 1946-91, J. Kraske, 1996.
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    George David Woods

    January 1963 - March 1968
    ...credited with a great vision for the Bank and a number of bold innovations. - The World Bank: Its First Half Century, Brookings Institution 1997
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    Eugene Robert Black

    July 1949 - December 1962
    Built a solid financial foundation and led the Bank into an era of financial diplomacy. Much-admired chairman of the Board and popular CEO.
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    John Jay McCloy

    March 1947 - June 1949
    Started up the Bank's business and lifted its vision from reconstruction to development.
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    Eugene Meyer

    June 1946 - December 1946
    Laid the groundwork for lasting Bank business policies.