David Malpass, the head of the World Bank, announced on Wednesday that he will leave his position almost a year early, capping a term marred by controversy over his views on climate change.
The American Republican who had previously worked as Under Secretary of the Treasury for foreign affairs was appointed to the position in 2019 when Donald Trump was president.
During his time there, the World Bank dealt with major crises like the CoVid-19 outbreak, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and a global economic slump.
“After a good deal of thought, I’ve decided to pursue new challenges,” the 66-year-old was quoted as saying in a statement from the bank, having informed its board of his decision.
“This is an opportunity for a smooth leadership transition as the Bank Group works to meet increasing global challenges,” Malpass added.
Malpass has faced calls for his resignation or dismissal in recent months.
After Malpass’ attendance at a conference hosted by the New York Times last September, the chorus of climate activists calling for his resignation got louder. They accused him of taking an insufficient approach to the climate problem.
When pressed on stage to address the allegation made by former US vice president Al Gore that he was a climate denier, Malpass repeatedly declined, saying, “I’m not a scientist,” in response.
Later, he clarified his position and indicated he had no plans to step down, admitting that emissions that contribute to global warming are produced by human activity, including burning fossil fuels.
The White House previously criticized Malpass, with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noting that the bank was expected to take the lead in responding to the climate catastrophe on a worldwide scale.