Robert Zoellick

Change the World Bank needs

Few people on the street may be familiar with the World Bank. Yet, it plays a critical role in the U.S. effort to engage the world through its contribution to economic development in poor and post-conflict societies.

As current World Bank President Robert Zoellick steps down this summer, the bank will soon have a new leader. In the past, as per an unwritten convention, the U.S. — the largest single majority shareholder of the bank — got to select the president.

Although the bank at its core is a development institution, it was, surprisingly, never led by a development professional. Past presidents included individuals with strong ties with the White House whose professional...