WASHINGTON – James Wolfensohn (search) said Sunday he anticipates bowing out in 2005 as World Bank (search) president and not serving a third five-year term, but would do whatever shareholders ask of him.
"I've had 10 years, and I think that's probably enough. But if the need is there, I'll do whatever the shareholders want," he told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "My understanding and my belief is that probably during the course of this year I'll give over to someone else."
Wolfensohn's term expires June 1. As bank president since June 1, 1995, he has emphasized reducing poverty in developing nations and making lending projects more effective. Previously, he headed the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (search) and was a Wall Street investment banker for 20 years.
The United States is the bank's largest shareholder among 184 nation-members. Since the bank's founding in 1944 by a conference of 44 governments in Bretton Woods (search), N.H., to help rebuild Europe after World War II, the bank traditionally has had an American president. Its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund (search), traditionally has been headed by a European