|James Wolfensohn in 2003|
|9th President of the World Bank|
1 July 1995 – 30 June 2005
|Preceded by||Lewis Preston|
|Succeeded by||Paul Wolfowitz|
1 December 1933 |
Early life and education
Wolfensohn was born in Sydney, Australia, on 1 December 1933. In his autobiography, A Global Life, he described how monetary insecurity was a fact of life from childhood and explained that he was always looking for a cushion to protect himself from it.
He was educated first at Woollahra Public School, and then at Sydney Boys High School. He studied arts (BA) and law (LL.B) at the University of Sydney, and in 1959 earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree at Harvard Business School. In his 2010 memoirs he reveals that he failed several university classes, including English, and was a 'late developer'. He was a member of the Australian fencing team at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne and an officer in the Royal Australian Air Force.
Before attending Harvard, Wolfensohn was a lawyer in the Australian law firm of Allen, Allen & Hemsley in Sydney (now Allens Arthur Robinson).
Upon graduating from Harvard Business School, Wolfensohn worked briefly for Swiss cement giant Holderbank (now Holcim). He then returned to his native Australia, where he worked for various banking institutions, including Darling & Co. In the late 1960s, he became a director of Darling's major shareholder J. Henry Schroder & Co, a London-based investment bank. He was a senior executive in the London office before becoming managing director of the bank's New York City office from 1970 to 1976. He later became a senior executive at Salomon Brothers.
In 1980, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States, after it was rumored that he was a candidate to succeed Robert McNamara as president of the World Bank. After he was unsuccessful in this pursuit, he established his own investment firm, James D. Wolfensohn, Inc., along with partners including Paul A. Volcker. Upon accepting his nomination to serve as president of the World Bank in 1995, Wolfensohn divested of his ownership interest in James D. Wolfensohn, Inc. The firm was later bought by Bankers Trust.
In 2005, upon stepping down as president of the World Bank, he founded Wolfensohn & Company, LLC, a privately held firm that invests, and provides strategic consulting advice to governments and large corporations doing business, in emerging market economies.
In October 2010, Wolfensohn regained his Australian Citizenship.
World Bank tenure and other public service
Wolfensohn became president of the World Bank on 1 July 1995 after he was nominated by U.S. President Bill Clinton. He was unanimously supported by the bank's board of executive directors to a second five-year term in 2000, becoming the third person to serve two terms in the position after Eugene R. Black and Robert McNamara. He visited more than 120 countries around the world during his term as president. He is credited, among other things, with being the first World Bank president to bring attention to the problem of corruption in the area of development financing.
On 3 January 2005, he announced that he would not seek a third term as president. During his term, the Alfalfa Club named him as their nominee for President of the United States in 2000 as part of a long-standing tradition, despite being constitutionally ineligible due to the natural-born citizen clause in Article II of the United States Constitution.
Civic and charitable activities
In 2006, Wolfensohn founded the Wolfensohn Center for Development at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. The center examined how to implement, scale up, and sustain development interventions to solve key development challenges at a national, regional, and global level and strives to bridge the gap between development theorists and practitioners. Its projects focused on youth exclusion in the Middle East, large-scale anti-poverty programs, reforms of global economic governance, and regional cooperation, particularly in Central Asia. The Center concluded work after five years.
Wolfensohn is an honorary trustee of the Brookings Institution, and served as a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation. He is a trustee and the former chairman of the board of trustees of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is also chairman emeritus of Carnegie Hall in New York and of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves on the board of various charitable foundations, including the Wolfensohn Family Foundation. In July 2008, Wolfensohn was selected as one of the inaugural fellows of the Australian Institute of International Affairs.
Personal life and honors
A friend of Jacqueline du Pré, he began cello studies with her at the age of 41 when she offered to teach him on the condition that he perform on his 50th birthday at Carnegie Hall in New York, which he did. He repeated the exercise on his 60th and 70th birthdays with Yo-Yo Ma and Bono. He continues to play and has appeared, together with musician friends, at private events at Carnegie Hall and elsewhere.
Wolfensohn has received numerous awards throughout his life, including becoming an honorary officer of the Order of Australia in 1987, and an honorary knighthood of the Order of the British Empire in 1995 for his service to the arts. The University of New South Wales conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Science in 2006 and he is a recipient of The International Center in New York's Award of Excellence.
He is married to Elaine, née Botwinick, and has three grown children, Sara, Naomi, Adam, and seven grandchildren.
In New York, Wolfesohn found himself at a Jerusalem Foundation lunch next to Dorothy de Rothschild, widow of James. She could not tell him why his father suddenly had left Rothschild six decades earlier. But he was reassured that his father had been a "wonderful man".
In 2006, he received the Leo Baeck Medal for his humanitarian work promoting tolerance and social justice.
- James D. Wolfensohn: "Social Development", in: Frank-Jürgen Richter, Pamela Mar: Asia’s New Crisis, John Wiley 2004, ISBN 0-470-82129-9
- Sebastian Mallaby date The World's Banker. ISBN 1-59420-023-8. Critical biography by former The Economist writer and Washington Post contributor, emphasis on World Bank.
- James D. Wolfensohn and Andrew Kircher date Voice for the World's Poor: Selected Speeches and Writings of World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn, 1995–2005. ISBN 978-0-8213-6156-6. Collection of speeches, articles, memoranda and op-eds.
- James D. Wolfensohn 2010. A Global Life: My Journey among Rich and Poor, from Wall Street to the World Bank. Pan MacMillan. ISBN 978-1-58648-255-8. Memoirs.
- Stutchbury, Michael (30 October 2010), "The man who inherited the Rothschild legend", The Australian (Australia): 11, retrieved 30 October 2010
- "James Wolfensohn Olympic Results". sports-reference.com. Retrieved 2010-10-13.
- World Bank Bio Retrieved 7 May 2008
- James Wolfensohn, A Global Life, New York: Public Affairs, 2010, p.96
- Citigroup (2010). . Retrieved 22 April 2010.
- James D. Wolfensohn, Annual Meeting Address, 1 October 1996, World Bank website Retrieved 7 May 2008
- NNDB.com (2006). Alfalfa Club. Retrieved 21 May 2006.
- Grassroots Business Fund (2011). Governing Board and Advisors. Retrieved February 2011.
- The New York Times (2006). Gift to Help Create Center on Poverty. Retrieved 16 March 2007.
- Brookings Institution (2012). Wolfensohn Center for Development. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- "Former Steering Committee Members". bilderbergmeetings.org. Bilderberg Group. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- "Honorary Board". IPC.
- It's An Honour (2008). WOLFENSOHN, James David. Retrieved 11 February 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to James Wolfensohn.|
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-  Iraq: Paris Club Debt Relief. CRS Report for Congress. Updated 19 January 2005
"Iraq’s debts needed to be reduced by 33%, from roughly $120 billion to $80 billion in order to fund reconstruction needs and long-term economic development."
|Non-profit organization positions|
Lewis T. Preston
|President of the World Bank