The Wolfowitz scandal should serve as a sobering wake-up call to the World Bank on the need for meaningful governance reforms. Its archaic 1940s convention of allowing the US to name the Bank's leader undermines the institution's legitimacy as well as the accountability of the Bank's president. The Bank does not need to look very far for reform proposals - including its own 2001 proposals for an open, competitive selection process that were summarily ignored.
Supporters and critics alike have long called for governance reforms at both the World Bank and the IMF. Civil society groups have offered an extremely healthy set of well-founded recommendations over time. Even the Boards of the Bank and Fund tacitly admitted the flaws in their leadership selection processes by convening special committees in 2001 to devise procedures for open, competitive processes based on merit, not national origin. But the US and Europeans (the Europeans assert the right to name the head of the IMF) have jealously guarded their naming privileges, ignoring all calls for reform.