0323 kim
U.S. President Barack Obama during the nomination announcement of Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim for president of the World Bank, as Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner looks on March 23, 2012 in Washington, D.C. - 

Stacey Vanek Smith: The head of the World Bank has always been an American, and typically, a white, male, banker, diplomat-type. But this morning, President Obama nominated a Korean-American doctor to the post. Sign of change?

From Washington, Scott Tong reports.

Scott Tong: Jim Yong Kim has been running Dartmouth College for three years -- he's a public health guy.  Dr. Kim previously ran Harvard's global health department. And before that, he oversaw HIV/AIDS work at the World Health Organization.
So potentially a different kind of leader for an organization undergoing its own change, says Todd Moss at the Center for Global Development.

Todd Moss: A lot of countries that had been poor are now becoming middle income, and what the Bank will do with those handful of difficult cases that are still poor is going to be a major challenge. And then for its middle income countries, what role does the Bank have in those countries?

And many countries aren't so happy with the Bank these days.  The U.S. has always picked the president. And this year, developing countries will bring alternative candidates to the board next month.
Moss bets on Dr. Kim, but thinks it's the last time the White House gets to handpick the bank president. If Kim prevails and wants to push global health, he'll have to bring all those member countries on board.

In Washington, I'm Scott Tong for Marketplace.

Follow Scott Tong at @tongscott