WASHINGTON – Robert Zoellick, President Bush's choice to run the World Bank, is embarking on a government-paid global tour — hitting Africa, Europe and Latin America — as the United States seeks to mend relationships strained by the rocky tenure of the bank's outgoing president.
"I want to leave no stone unturned in showing people I am serious," Zoellick, currently a vice chairman at Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, told reporters Monday. He said he wants to reach out to government leaders, financial officials and others about issues facing the poverty-fighting institution and its programs in the developing world.
"My immediate goal is simple: I want to listen and to learn," Zoellick said.
The president last week tapped Zoellick to succeed Paul Wolfowitz, who will step down on June 30. The selection of Zoellick must be approved by the World Bank's 24-member board.
Wolfowitz said he would resign after a special bank panel found that he broke bank rules in arranging a hefty pay raise for Shaha Riza, his girlfriend and a bank employee. His departure will end a stormy two-year tenure that courted controversy from the start because of Wolfowitz' role in the Iraq war when he was deputy defense secretary.
Zoellick, 53, served as Bush's former trade representative and was the No. 2 official at the State Department before he left to take a job on Wall Street last year.