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Robert Zoellick

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Title: Robert Zoellick  
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Robert Zoellick

Robert Zoellick
11th President of the World Bank Group
In office
July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2012
Nominated by George W. Bush
Preceded by Paul Wolfowitz
Succeeded by Jim Yong Kim
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State
In office
February 22, 2005 – July 7, 2006
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Richard Armitage
Succeeded by John Negroponte
Trade Representative of the United States
In office
January 20, 2001 – February 22, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Charlene Barshefsky
Succeeded by Rob Portman
White House Deputy Chief of Staff
In office
August 23, 1992 – January 20, 1993
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Henson Moore
Succeeded by Mark Gearan
U.S. Undersecretary of State for Economic and Agricultural Affairs
In office
May 20, 1991 – August 23, 1992
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Richard McCormack
Succeeded by Joan Spero
Counselor of the U.S. Department of State
In office
March 2, 1989 – August 23, 1992
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Max Kampelman
Succeeded by Tim Wirth
Personal details
Born Robert Bruce Zoellick
(1953-07-25) July 25, 1953
Naperville, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sherry Zoellick
Alma mater Swarthmore College (B.A.)
Harvard University (M.P.P, J.D.)
Religion Lutheranism[1]

Robert Bruce Zoellick (; German: ; born July 25, 1953) is an American banker who was the eleventh president of the World Bank, a position he held from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2012.[2] He was previously a managing director of Goldman Sachs,[3] United States Deputy Secretary of State (resigning on July 7, 2006) and U.S. Trade Representative, from February 7, 2001 until February 22, 2005. Zoellick has been a senior fellow at his alma mater Harvard Kennedy School since retirement from the World Bank in July 1, 2012.


  • Background 1
  • Career 2
    • Judicial clerkship (1982–1983) 2.1
    • Government service (1985–1992) 2.2
    • Business, academia, and politics (1993–2001) 2.3
    • U.S. Trade Representative (2001–2005) 2.4
    • Deputy Secretary of State (2005–2006) 2.5
    • President of the World Bank (2007–2012) 2.6
      • World Bank succession 2.6.1
    • Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School (2012–present) 2.7
    • Mitt Romney 2012 presidential campaign 2.8
  • Board memberships and honors 3
  • Views 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Robert Bruce Zoellick was born in Naperville, Illinois, the son of Gladys (Lenz) and William T. Zoellick.[4][5] His family is of German origin[6] and he was raised Lutheran.[1] He graduated in 1971 from Naperville Central High School, graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1975 from Swarthmore College as a history major, and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1981.[7][8][9]


Judicial clerkship (1982–1983)

Upon graduation from Harvard Law School Zoellick served as a law clerk for Judge Patricia Wald on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Government service (1985–1992)

Zoellick served in various positions at the Department of the Treasury from 1985 to 1988. He held positions including Counselor to Secretary James Baker, Executive Secretary of the Department, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Policy.

During Secretary of State, as Under Secretary of State for Economic and Agricultural Affairs, as well as Counselor to the Department (Under Secretary rank). In August 1992, Zoellick was appointed White House Deputy Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President.[7] Zoellick was also appointed Bush's personal representative for the G7 Economic Summits in 1991 and 1992.

Business, academia, and politics (1993–2001)

After leaving government service, Zoellick served from 1993 to 1997 as an Executive Vice President of Fannie Mae.[10][11] Afterwards, Zoellick was appointed as the John M. Olin Professor of National Security at the U.S. Naval Academy (1997–98); Research Scholar at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government; and Senior International Advisor to Goldman Sachs.[8][11]

Zoellick signed the January 26, 1998 letter[12] to President Bill Clinton from Project for a New American Century (PNAC) that advocated war against Iraq.

During 1999 Zoellick was, for a short period, the head of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).[13]

Also during 1999, Zoellick served on a panel that offered Enron executives briefings on economic and political issues.[14]

In the Condoleezza Rice, that called itself The Vulcans. James Baker designated him as his second-in-command—"a sort of chief operating officer or chief of staff"—in the 36-day battle over recounting the vote in Florida.[15]

U.S. Trade Representative (2001–2005)

Zoellick was named U.S. Trade Representative in Bush's first term; he was a member of the Doha, Qatar; shepherded Congressional action on the Jordan Free Trade Agreement and the Vietnam Trade Agreement; and worked with Congress to pass the Trade Act of 2002, which included new Trade Promotion Authority.[8] He also heavily promoted the Central American Free Trade Agreement over the objections of labor, environmental, and human rights groups.[16]

Zoellick played a key role in the U.S.-WTO dispute against the European Union over genetically modified foods. The move sought to require that the European Union comply with international obligations to use science-based methods in continuing its moratorium on the approval of new genetically modified crops within the E.U.[17]

Deputy Secretary of State (2005–2006)

Zoellick with then Premier of South Australia Mike Rann in November 2005
Zoellick (right) with Jan Pronk, the United Nations' special representative to Sudan.

On January 7, 2005, Bush nominated Zoellick to be Bush administration’s policies regarding China.

On September 21, 2005, Zoellick created a major stir on both sides of the Pacific by giving a remarkably candid speech to the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. In the speech, he not only introduced the notion of China as a "responsible stakeholder" in the international community but sought to allay fears in the US of ceding dominance to China.[19]

In addition, Zoellick chartered a new direction in the Darfur peace process.[20] During a trip to a Darfur refugee camp in 2005, he wore a bracelet with the motto, "Not on our watch." Zoellick was seen by many as the administration's strongest voice on Darfur. His resignation catalyzed groups, such as the Genocide Intervention Network, to praise his record on human rights issues.[21]

President of the World Bank (2007–2012)

On 30 May 2007, Paul Wolfowitz as President of the World Bank.[22]

On 25 June 2007, Zoellick was approved by the World Bank's executive board.[2][23]

On 1 July 2007, Zoellick officially took office as President of the World Bank following nearly a year spent at Goldman Sachs.

In a major speech at the National Press Club in Washington on October 10, 2007, Zoellick formulated what he described as "six strategic themes in support of the goal of an inclusive and sustainable globalization" which he proposed should guide the future work of the World Bank:

First, the World Bank Group faces the challenge of helping to overcome poverty and spur sustainable growth in the poorest countries, especially in Africa... Second, we need to address the special problems of states coming out of conflict or seeking to avoid the breakdown of the state... Third, the World Bank Group needs a more differentiated business model for the middle income countries... Fourth, the World Bank Group will need to play a more active role in fostering regional and global public goods that transcend national boundaries and benefit multiple countries and citizens... Fifth, one of the most notable challenges of our time is how to support those seeking to advance development and opportunities in the Arab World... Finally, while the World Bank Group has some of the attributes of a financial and development business, its calling is much broader. It is a unique and special institution of knowledge and learning. It collects and supplies valuable data. Yet this is not a university – rather it is a “brain trust" of applied experience that will help us to address the five other strategic themes.[24]

During Zoellick's time at the World Bank, the institution's capital stock has been expanded[25] and lending volumes increased to help member countries deal with the global financial and economic crisis;[25] assistance has been stepped up to deal with the famine in the Horn of Africa;[26] a major increase in resources has been achieved for the institution's soft loan facility, the International Development Association (IDA), which lends to the poorest countries;[27] and a reform has been carried out to the World Bank's shareholding, Executive Board and voting structure, to increase the influence of developing and emerging economies in the World Bank's governance.[28]

World Bank succession

On March 23, 2012, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would nominate Jim Yong Kim as the next president of the World Bank. On April 16, Kim was elected to head the World Bank; he took office on July 1.[29]

Kim was selected over Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.[30][31] The African Union Commission supported her candidacy.[32] Another candidate, former Colombia Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo dropped out of the race and fully backed the election of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.[33] United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was frequently mentioned as a possible successor to President Zoellick at the end of his term in mid-2012. Clinton expressly stated that she had no desire to hold further political office.

Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School (2012–present)

Since retirement from the World Bank, Zoellick took up the position at a senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs on July 1, 2012.[34]

Mitt Romney 2012 presidential campaign

During the 2012 United States presidential election, Zoellick was appointed to lead the national security portion of Republican candidate Mitt Romney's transition team should he be elected President of the United States. Anonymous sources, as reported in November 2012 by Foreign Policy, affiliated with Romney's transition project claimed he had been positioning himself to be appointed as Romney's United States Secretary of State. However, several anonymous former Romney advisers stated to Foreign Policy that foreign policy transition team members would not necessarily receive certain jobs in Romney's potential administration.[35] This speculation was also fueled by Politico in August 2012, when it was reported that 'in diplomatic circles it is seen as very likely' that Zoellick "could get the top job" as Secretary of State in a potential Romney cabinet.[36]

Ultimately, Romney lost the election to incumbent President Barack Obama, thus ending Romney's transition efforts and, with it, speculation about Zoellick's role in a Romney administration.[35]

Board memberships and honors

Zoellick has served as a board member for a number of private and public organizations, including Alliance Capital, Said Holdings, and the Precursor Group; as a member of the advisory boards of Enron[37] and Viventures, a venture fund; and a director of the Aspen Institute's Strategy Group.

As of 2 August 2013, Zoellick has been appointed by Temasek Holdings - Singapore’s state-owned investment arm, to its board of directors, as the company looks to start its first office in the United States.

He has also served on the boards of the German Marshall Fund and the European Institute and on the World Wildlife Fund Advisory Council. He was a member of Secretary William Cohen's Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

In 1992, he received the Knight Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his eminent achievements in the course of German reunification. In 2002, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Saint Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Indiana.


Robert Zoellick with Shinzo Abe

In 2005 Tom Barry, the policy director of the International Relations Center, wrote that Zoellick "regards free trade philosophy and free trade agreements as instruments of U.S. national interests. When the principles of free trade affect U.S. short-term interests or even the interests of political constituencies, Zoellick is more a mercantilist and unilateralist than free trader or multilateralist."[38]

Gavan McCormack has written that Zoellick used his perch as U.S. trade representative to advocate for Wall Street's policy goals abroad, as during a 2004 intervention in a key privatization issue in Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's re-election campaign. McCormack has written, "The office of the U.S. Trade Representative has played an active part in drafting the Japan Post privatization law. An October 2004 letter from Robert Zoellick to Japan’s Finance Minister Takenaka Heizo, tabled in the Diet on August 2, 2005, included a handwritten note from Zoellick commending Takenaka. Challenged to explain this apparent U.S. government intervention in a domestic matter, Koizumi merely expressed his satisfaction that Takenaka had been befriended by such an important figure… It is hard to overestimate the scale of the opportunity offered to U.S. and global finance capital by the privatization of the Postal Savings System."[39]

In a January 2000 Foreign Affairs essay entitled "Campaign 2000: A Republican Foreign Policy," he was one of the first of those now associated with Bush's foreign policy to invoke the notion of "evil," writing: "[T]here is still evil in the world—people who hate America and the ideas for which it stands. Today, we face enemies who are hard at work to develop nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, along with the missiles to deliver them. The United States must remain vigilant and have the strength to defeat its enemies. People driven by enmity or by a need to dominate will not respond to reason or goodwill. They will manipulate civilized rules for uncivilized ends."[40] The same essay praises the "idealism" of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Two years earlier, Zoellick was one of the signatories (who also included Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Zalmay Khalilzad, John R. Bolton, Richard Armitage, and Bill Kristol) of a January 26, 1998 letter to President Bill Clinton drafted by the Project for the New American Century calling for "removing Saddam [Hussein]'s regime from power."[12]

While in the position of Deputy Secretary of State, Zoellick visited Sudan four times. He supported expanding a United Nations force in the Darfur region to replace African Union soldiers. He was involved in negotiating a peace accord between the government of Sudan and the Sudan Liberation Army, signed in Abuja, Nigeria, in May 2006.

Zoellick is considered an influential advocate of US-German relations. Fluent in German, he possesses considerable knowledge of Germany, the country of his family background.

In the lead-up to the 2010 G-20 Seoul summit and in the immediate wake of the U.S. elections and subsequent Fed QE2 monetary-policy move, Zoellick published a noted[41] call for increased awareness of the function of gold in international currency markets. This was misinterpreted by many economists as a call for the return of some form of gold standard in a post-Bretton Woods II world.[42] The reaction of economists to this suggestion was largely negative, dismissing a renewed gold standard as unrealistic.[43] Zoellick's response was to point out the misinterpretation: he did not advocate a return to the gold standard, but a new role for gold in currency markets as an alternative monetary asset, which he termed "reference point gold".[44]

See also


  1. ^ a b : "Whenever he is in Chicago on business, he drives by his old school and Bethany Lutheran Church where his family worshipped...."
  2. ^ a b "Press Release Regarding the Selection of Mr. Robert B. Zoellick as President of the World Bank", World Bank Group, June 25, 2007, accessed June 26, 2007.
  3. ^ Reuters (2006). Goldman says Zoellick to be vice chairman, intl. Retrieved June 20, 2006.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b : Resources For The President's Team
  8. ^ a b c, Biography of Ambassador Robert B. Zoellick at the Wayback Machine (archived January 13, 2005), 30 September 2004
  9. ^ Swarthmore College Halcyon Yearbook
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Jeffrey Toobin, Too Close to Call: The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election (New York: Random House, 2002), p. 95.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Times Online (2006). Zoellick quits State Department for Goldman. Retrieved June 20, 2006.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ a b
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ Closing of Nominations for President of World Bank
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^ [1], Harvard Kennedy School website. Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  35. ^ a b
  36. ^ "Who’s on the inside track for a Romney Cabinet" by MIKE ALLEN and JIM VANDEHEI, Politico, August 28, 2012, Retrieved 2012-08-28
  37. ^
  38. ^ Tom Barry, CounterPunch, 14 January 2005, Tom Barry: Robert Zoellick: a Bush Family Man.
  39. ^ Gavan McCormack, New Left Review, Koizumi's Coup, New Left Review 35, September–October 2005.
  40. ^ Andrew Leonard, Salon, 29 May 2007, Bush and the World Bank: Bloody but unbowed
  41. ^ Oliver, Chris, "World Bank chief calls for new gold standard", Marketwatch, Nov. 7, 2010 11:19 p.m. EST. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
  42. ^ Zoellick, Robert, "The G20 must look beyond Bretton Woods II", Financial Times, November 7, 2010 18:10. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
  43. ^ Harding, Robin, "Zoellick’s call on gold standard dismissed", Financial Times, November 8, 2010 18:03. Retrieved 2010-12-16.
  44. ^ Zoellick, Robert, "Zoellick urges G20 to heed gold price", Financial Times, November 10, 2010 7:23. Retrieved 2010-11-10.

External links

  • World Bank biography
  • State Department biography
  • Zoellick in Zmag
  • "China and America: Power and Responsibility" – An address by Zoellick to the Asia Society Annual Dinner in New York, on February 25, 2004
  • Robert Zoellick's list of federal campaign contributions
  • Zoellick reports, clippings and sources
  • Profile of Zoellick in the Harvard Law Record
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
  • Robert Zoellick at the Internet Movie Database
  • Robert Zoellick collected news and commentary at The New York Times
  • Robert Zoellick collected news and commentary at The Wall Street Journal
  • Works by or about Robert Zoellick in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
Political offices
Preceded by
Max Kampelman
Counselor of the Department of State of the United States
Succeeded by
Tim Wirth
Preceded by
Richard McCormack
Undersecretary of State for Economic and Agricultural Affairs of the United States
Succeeded by
Joan Spero
Preceded by
Charlene Barshefsky
Trade Representative of the United States
Succeeded by
Rob Portman
Preceded by
Richard Armitage
Deputy Secretary of State of the United States
Succeeded by
John Negroponte
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Paul Wolfowitz
President of the World Bank Group
Succeeded by
Jim Yong Kim
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