Home Industry Banking & Finance James Wolfensohn: Ex-President of World Bank Dies 4 months after his Wife Passed
Banking & Finance - News - November 26, 2020

James Wolfensohn: Ex-President of World Bank Dies 4 months after his Wife Passed

A former President of the World Bank Group, James D. Wolfensohn, has died, the incumbent President of the Bank, David Malpass, confirmed on Wednesday, Nov. 25.

The death of Wolfensohn, 86, comes about four months after his wife, Elaine, passed on. She died on August 19, 2020.

In a statement released by Malpass, he said under Wolfensohn’s leadership which was between June 1, 1995 to May 31, 2005, the World Bank Group “sharpened its focus on poverty reduction and redoubled its efforts to combat corruption, gave voice to the poor, and magnified the impact of development investments.”

The statement reads, “On behalf of the entire World Bank Group, I would like to express our sadness and great sense of loss on the passing of former Bank Group President, Jim Wolfensohn.

“Bank staff had great admiration and respect for Jim and his wife Elaine who passed away in August of this year. In his 10 years as President, Jim traveled to more than 120 countries, often accompanied by Elaine, to better understand the challenges facing the Bank’s member countries. In addition to visiting development projects, Jim met clients and representatives from business, labor, media, non-governmental organizations, religious and women’s groups, students, and teachers. Internally, Jim transformed the World Bank Group, increasing decentralization, advancing the Bank technologically, and making the organization more open and transparent.


“In 1996, the World Bank and IMF launched the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, the first comprehensive debt reduction program. As of August 2004, 27 of the world’s poorest countries were receiving substantial debt relief under the program that amounted, over time, to more than $53 billion. Jim introduced the Comprehensive Development Framework in 1999, which emphasized country ownership of poverty reduction strategies and strong partnerships among government, civil society, and the private sector. In 2012, to recognize the profound impact Jim had on the lives of the poor, the center of our headquarters building was dedicated as James .D. Wolfensohn Atrium.”

Prior to his work at the Bank, the deceased had an established career as an investment banker and he was actively involved in developmental issues and the global economy.

He is survived by his three children – Sara, Naomi, and Adam.

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