Sources in the Bush administration have said that ex-Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is in the running to become the next World Bank president, according to The Financial Times.
Fiorina is in competition with a host of candidates, the foremost of which is Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, the Bush administration source told The Financial Times.
The Department of Defense has denied that Wolfowitz is in the running, however.
"[Secretary] Wolfowitz has been asked to stay on in the extremely important job that he likes very much," Army Colonel Gary Keck told eWEEK.com.
Keck said he had no knowledge of whether it was President Bush himself who asked Wolfowitz to stay.
Beyond the Pentagons denial of his imminent departure, Wolfowitzs involvement as a key player in the war in Iraq could well sour European nations on his candidacy.
Fiorina, in contrast, carries no such political stigma.
The United States traditionally appoints the head of the bank, while Europe is in charge of selecting the director of the International Monetary Fund.
The job will become available in May, after it is vacated by current World Bank President James Wolfensohn. Wolfensohn is completing his second five-year term.
According to news reports, other candidates include Randall Tobias, the AIDS coordinator for the White House, former AT&T International vice chairman and head of Eli Lilly; and John Taylor, the head of international affairs at the Treasury Department.
U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick was considered the favorite for the position until he was appointed to become the new deputy secretary of state.
News reports claim that Peter McPherson, president of Michigan State University, is no longer a leading candidate.
Fiorina stepped down as CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co. in early February, following poor stock performance, a lackluster merger with Compaq Computer Corp. in 2002, and losses spurred by problems with order fulfillment and a migration of its order management operations in HPs Enterprise Storage and Servers group.
Although Fiorina is best known for orchestrating the HP-Compaq merger and her nearly 20 years at AT&T and Lucent Technologies, she also has credentials on the global stage, according to an executive bio on HPs site, including serving on the board of the World Economic Foundation, which is committed to building partnerships to promote sustainable economic and social development.
Her other global credentials:
- Fiorina named an Honorary Fellow of the London Business School, July 2001
- 2002 Appeal of Conscience Award and the 2003 Concern Worldwide "Seeds of Hope" Award in recognition of Fiorinas worldwide efforts to make global citizenship a priority for business
- Private Sector Council 2004 Leadership Award for Fiorinas contributions to improving the business of government
- White House appointed Fiorina to the U.S. Space Commission to advise it on the nations space science agenda and contribute a broad range of high-tech expertise
In addition, Fiorina sits on the New York Stock Exchanges executive board and the board of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Fiorina has previously served on the boards of Cisco Systems, Kellogg Company and Merck & Company.
The Treasury Department, which is charged with filling the World Bank position, failed to return calls by the time this story was published.