Malpass was serving in the Trump administration as Treasury's under secretary of international affairs. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and a White House adviser, both praised the choice.
"I look forward to continuing our work to economically empower women globally and further the bank's core mission of ending poverty," said Ivanka Trump, who had worked on those issues with Kim. Mnuchin praised Malpass for pushing reforms at the World Bank during his time at Treasury.
Malpass has been a longtime critic of the World Bank and its sister lending organization, the International Monetary Fund. He has complained that the bank was lending too much money to China at the expense of poorer nations that do not have the same access to global capital markets as China.
However, in his Treasury post, Malpass helped win support last year for a $13 billion funding increase for the bank. Malpass, 63, will be the 13th president of the World Bank. Americans have always headed the World Bank, while a European has always headed the IMF since both institutions were created in the mid-1940s.
Critics have said this tradition was no longer valid in a new era with the growing clout of emerging economics such as China. However, no other country put forward a candidate to challenge Malpass. In a note to World Bank employees after his selection Friday, Malpass said that more than 700 million people remain in extreme poverty in the world. Too many people are not seeing an advance in their living standards, with the poorest nations facing the steepest challenges, he said.
"Faced with these challenges, our twin goals of eliminating extreme poverty and achieving shared prosperity are more relevant than ever," Malpass said. "The Bank Group is strong financially and well equipped with the tools and talent to achieve measurable successes."
His candidacy was backed by a global lobbying effort led by Mnuchin, who promoted Malpass in discussions with foreign finance officials. The World Bank board had said last month that it would interview Malpass and expected to make its selection before the World Bank and IMF spring meetings that will be held in Washington next week.