A women's group has mounted spirited opposition to a prospective nomination of former Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers, 57, to be president of the World Bank.
The group, UltraViolet, which claims 300,000 members, announced collecting more than 42,000 signatures against Summers given his past history of slighting women economists - including Christine Romer, 53, another prospective nominee - as well as women's proficiency for the sciences.
President Barack Obama by Friday must announce a U.S. nominee for president of the World Bank, which has been headed by an American since 1944. The U.S. is its No. 1 shareholder, followed by Japan and China.
Two developing world candidates are to be nominated, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Columbian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo.
Okonjo-Iweala, 57, had served as World Bank VP and a managing director and would be the first woman World Bank president. Ocampo, 59, had been Undersecretary General of the United Nations for Economic and Social Affairs.
"From our perspective, Larry Summers has a record of intentionally and repeatedly disrespecting women. And that's bad news for the working poor, particularly women, in developing countries," the UltraViolet petition says.
Summers, who was president of Harvard University after serving as President Bill Clinton's third treasury secretary, had to resign in 2006 after provoking battles with faculty and noting "issues of intrinsic aptitude" keep women out of science.
UltraViolet also said Summers, who later was an economic adviser to Obama, deliberately left out recommendations of Romer while she headed the Council of Economic advisers. "I felt like a piece of meat," Romer said, after returning to her professorship in economics at the University of California, Berkeley.
Obama must nominate a successor to Robert Zoellick, 58, who was named by President George W. Bush in 2007 to succeed Paul Wolfowitz, the former U.S. deputy defense secretary, who quit the World Bank in a sex scandal involving pay for his female companion, a bank subordinate.
Other U.S. prospects could include:
Jeffrey Sachs, 57, a development economist who directs the Earth Institute at Columbia University and worked with many Eastern Bloc economies after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Sachs enjoys support from some developing countries, the Financial Times reported.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the 2004 Democratic candidate for President. Kerry, 68, has long wanted a seat on the global stage and now serves as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kerry may prefer to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 64, who said she wants to retire from public life next year.
Michael Bloomberg. The New York mayor, 70, might eye this as a cap to his career after becoming a billionaire on Wall Street via his Bloomberg LP information company, then serving as three-term Mayor of New York.
The New York Times this month said Bloomberg had lunch with Obama, 50, during which the president asked him what he wanted to do next. His reply isn't known.
Bloomberg, whose term expires next year, has said he wants to run his foundation but presumably could be enticed to run the World Bank. A Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent, Bloomberg might be an appealing choice for Obama, although he's hardly been known as having an interest in poverty and development, spending much of his political capital on education.
Richard Levin, 64, President of Yale, is the only economist currently heading an Ivy League institution. Among the Big 10, Morton Schapiro, 58, President of Northwestern University and a distinguished economist might be a prospect.
The World Bank president now earns a salary $441,980 plus $284,500 in other benefits. The bank lent $57 billion in its last fiscal year.