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Robert Bruce Zoellick

11th President of the World Bank Group
Assumed office 
July 1, 2007
Nominated by George W. Bush
Preceded by Paul Wolfowitz

In office
February 22, 2005 – July 7, 2006
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Richard Armitage
Succeeded by John Negroponte

In office
January 20, 2001 – February 22, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Charlene Barshefsky
Succeeded by Rob Portman

In office
May 20, 1991 – August 23,1992
President George H.W. Bush
Preceded by Richard T. McCormack
Succeeded by Joan E. Spero

Born July 25, 1953 (1953-07-25) (age 56)
Naperville, Illinois, U.S.
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Sherry Zoellick
Children None
Residence Chevy Chase, Maryland, U.S.
Religion Lutheran[1]

Robert Bruce Zoellick (/tsœlɪk/ in German, but usually pronounced /ˈzʌlɪk/; born July 25, 1953) is the eleventh president of the World Bank, a position he has held since July 1, 2007.[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.

President George W. Bush nominated Zoellick on May 30, 2007 to replace Paul Wolfowitz as President of the World Bank.[4] On June 25, 2007, Zoellick was approved by the World Bank's executive board.[5][6]



Zoellick was born in Naperville, Illinois, to a family of German origin.[7] He was raised Lutheran[1] and graduated in 1971 from Naperville Central High School. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1975 from Swarthmore College as a history major and received his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1981.[8][9][10] 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 Unification.

In 2002, Zoellick was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Saint Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Indiana. On May 30, 2007, President George W. Bush nominated Zoellick to become president of the World Bank, with Paul Wolfowitz formally stepping down on June 30.


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 George H. W. Bush's presidency, Zoellick served with Baker, by then 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.[8] 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. [4] [5] Afterwards, Zoellick was appointed as the John M. Olin Professor of National Security at the U.S. Naval Academy (1997–1998), 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.[9][11]

Zoellick signed the January 26, 1998 letter[12] to President Bill Clinton from 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]

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

In the 2000 U.S. presidential election campaign, Zoellick served as a foreign policy advisor to George W. Bush as part of a group, led by 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 at the beginning of the younger Bush's first term; he was a member of the Executive Office, with the rank of Ambassador. According to the U.S. Trade Representative website, Zoellick completed negotiations to bring China and Taiwan into the World Trade Organization (WTO); developed a strategy to launch new global trade negotiations at the WTO meeting in 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.[16] He also heavily promoted the Central American Free Trade Agreement over the objections of labor, environmental, and human rights groups.[17]

Zoellick played a key role in the U.S.-W.T.O. 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.[18].

Deputy Secretary of State (2005–2006)

Zoellick (right) with Jan Pronk, the United Nations' special representative to Sudan.

On January 7, 2005, Bush nominated Zoellick to be Deputy Secretary of State.[19] Zoellick assumed the office on February 22, 2005. The New York Times reported on May 25, 2006 that Zoellick could soon announce his departure. Zoellick agreed to serve as Deputy Secretary of State for not less than one year. He was seen as a major architect of the 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.[20]

In addition, Zoellick chartered a new direction in the Darfur peace process.[21] 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.[22]

President of the World Bank (2007–present)

Zoellick officially took office as President of the World Bank on July 1, 2007. His first term is set to expire in 2012.

Other activities

Zoellick also serves or has served as a board member for a number of private and public organizations: Alliance Capital, Said Holdings, and the Precursor Group; and as a member of the advisory boards of Enron[23] and Viventures, a venture fund; and a director of the Aspen Institute's Strategy Group.

He has also served on the boards of the German Marshall Fund and the European Institute and on the World Wildlife Fund Advisory Council, and was a member of Secretary William Cohen's Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee.[citation needed]

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations


Robert Zoellick with Shinzo Abe

Tom Barry, the policy director of the International Relations Center, has written 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."[24]

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."[25]

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." 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.


  1. ^ a b St. Clair, Stacy (2001-01-12). "Bush's trade post pick got start in Naperville". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2010-01-23. : "Whenever he is in Chicago on business, he drives by his old school and Bethany Lutheran Church where his family worshipped..."
  2. ^ World Bank press release.
  3. ^ Reuters (2006). Goldman says Zoellick to be vice chairman, intl. Retrieved June 20, 2006.
  4. ^ BBC NEWS | Business | US nominates new World Bank chief
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ "Zoellick, Robert B. -". IPS. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  7. ^ Becker, Elizabeth; Edmund L. Andrews (2003-02-08). "INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS; Performing a Free Trade Juggling Act, Offstage". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-23. 
  8. ^ a b : Resources For The President's Team
  9. ^ a b [1]
  10. ^ Swarthmore College Halcyon Yearbook>
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b Letter to President Clinton on Iraq
  13. ^ Free Preview –
  14. ^ [2]
  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. ^ [3]
  17. ^ Canadian Dimension / Articles / In Nicaragua, a Chavez Wave? (Nikolas Kozloff)
  18. ^ [ EC – APPROVAL AND MARKETING OF BIOTECH PRODUCTS (DS291, 292, 293) | World Trade Organization
  19. ^ President Nominates Ambassador Zoellick as Deputy Secretary of State
  20. ^
  21. ^ Times Online (2006). Zoellick quits State Department for Goldman. Retrieved June 20, 2006.
  22. ^
  23. ^ BBC News | BUSINESS | Regulators probe Enron stock selloff
  24. ^ Tom Barry: Robert Zoellick: a Bush Family Man
  25. ^

See also

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Charlene Barshefsky
United States Trade Representative
Succeeded by
Rob Portman
Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Armitage
Deputy Secretary of State
Succeeded by
John Negroponte
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Paul Wolfowitz
President of the World Bank
Succeeded by
incumbent as of September 12, 2007

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