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Past Presidents

Learn more about the past presidents of the World Bank Group. This page provides an overview of World Bank Group presidents' contributions to global development and the varying challenges they faced while in office. 

  • Jim Yong Kim
    July 2012 - February 2019

    Established a bold agenda for the international development community: end extreme poverty by 2030 and sustainably build shared prosperity by boosting the incomes of the poorest 40% of the population. 

  • Robert B. Zoellick
    July 2007 - June 2012

    Modernized and recapitalized the World Bank by prioritizing good governance and anti-corruption strategies while confronted with the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 and post-conflict issues in member states. 

  • Paul D. Wolfowitz
    June 2005 - June 2007

    Emphasized support on Africa through the Bank's Africa Action Plan (AAP), pursued a strategy on clean energy and climate change, and advocated for the repatriation of looted assets to developing countries.  


  • James D. Wolfensohn
    June 1995 - May 2005

    Prioritized the Bank's core purpose: fight global poverty and help the world's poor forge better lives. Known as the "Renaissance Banker", Wolfensohn pursued many initiatives including debt relief and the fight against the "cancer of corruption".

  • Lewis T. Preston
    September 1991 - May 1995

    Led the Bank with agility and responsiveness to meet the changing needs of members: welcoming former Soviet Republics as new members, establishing lending programs in the newly democratic South Africa, and resuming lending operations in Vietnam.


  • Barber Conable
    July 1986 - August 1991

    Realigned his administration with the Bank's central mission of alleviating poverty and recognized the significance of tackling environmental problems. He also oversaw the most extensive reorganization in the Bank's history. 

  • A. W. Clausen
    July 1981 - June 1986

    Oversaw the expansion of structural adjustment lending during the debt crisis of the early 1980s and emphasized the need for additional assistance to sub-Saharan Africa to provide development infrastructure. 


  • Robert S. McNamara
    April 1968 - June 1981

    Transformed the World Bank into a development organization by focusing on the needs of people living in extreme poverty. Expanded operations into new sectors and dramatically increased lending commitments and the number of Bank staff.

  • George D. Woods
    January 1963 - March 1968

    Reinforced the Bank's role as a development institution and redirected its focus and resources to the analysis of development and the support of relevant economic activities. 

  • Eugene R. Black
    July 1949 - December 1962

    Established the Bank as an impartial mediator in international disputes, built the Bank's credit in U.S. capital markets, and formalized operational policies. Two major affiliates were created during his administration: IFC and IDA. 

  • John J. McCloy
    March 1947 - June 1949

    Solidified the Bank's role as a lending institution and clarified the respective roles of the executive directors and the president. Agreement between the World Bank and the United Nations was formalized during his administration. 

  • Eugene Meyer
    June 1946 - December 1946

    Laid the groundwork for the World Bank: defined the Bank's mission, appointed senior staff, hired personnel capable of analyzing loan proposals, and began the important task of building confidence in the Bank on Wall Street.