White House Considering Former Pepsi CEO For World Bank President

Get ready for a “free” Pepsi soda machine in every emerging market ghetto.

Refuting rumors that Ivanka Trump may be set to fill the top rank at one of the world’s most important NGOs, the NYT reports that the White House is considering Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of Pepsi for the position of World Bank president. Nooyi, who stepped down from her role at Pepsi last August after leading the company for 12 years, has been courted as an administration ally by Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter who is playing a role in the selection of a nominee.

Still, as the NYT adds, the decision-making process for the top post at the World Bank is fluid and in its initial stages and early front-runners and candidates often fall off the radar, or withdraw from consideration, before the president makes his ultimate pick. It is well known that Trump often makes his own gut decisions about whom to chose.

It is unclear whether Nooyi would accept the nomination if chosen by the administration but Ms. Trump, who has tweeted that she views Ms. Nooyi as a “mentor + inspiration,” has floated her name as a potential successor.

Nooyi has dined with the president and other business leaders at his Bedminster, N.J. golf club. She drew criticism for assuming an advisory role on his business council, which was disbanded after many chief executives quit following Mr. Trump’s comments blaming “many sides” for white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017.

There is one major hurdle facing the former Pepsi CEO: after the 2016 election, during which she supported the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, Nooyi made negative comments which are now seen as a potential roadblock to her nomination. Trump’s win, she said, created a lot of questions among her daughters and her employees.

“They were all in mourning,” Ms. Nooyi said in an interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin at The New York Times’ DealBook conference in 2016.

“Our employees are all crying. And the question that they’re asking, especially those who are not white: ‘Are we safe?’ Women are asking: ‘Are we safe?’ LGBT people are asking: ‘Are we safe?’ I never thought I’d have had to answer those questions,”

That those comments may hinder her chances are a reminder that “Trump does not have a large circle of loyalists to choose from for top positions”, according to the NYT. Still, if the president refuses to appoint Nooyi, other candidates being considered include David Malpass, the under secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, whose loyalty to the president runs deep: as well as Ray Washburne, the president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. Washburne also served on Mr. Trump’s 2016 finance team, and was seen as an early candidate for a cabinet position.

As a reminder, the World Bank’s current president, Jim Yong Kim, unexpectedly announced earlier this month he would step down from his post in February to join a private infrastructure investment firm, some three years before the end of his term. Kim was first appointed by the Obama administration in 2012, on the recommendation of Clinton when she was secretary of state, and was reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2016 to serve a second five-year term.

The process of choosing a successor is being overseen by Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, and Ms. Trump, whose role in the process was announced by the White House on Monday.