European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker only learned that his deputy Kristalina Georgieva would take a job at the World Bank on the same day she resigned from the EU executive (28 October), a source close to Juncker told EurActiv.com.
Reportedly, Juncker was unaware of Georgieva’s job hunting, or at least he was not informed about her plan to return to the World Bank, where she was previously vice president.
Last Friday Georgieva informed Juncker that as of 2 January she will take up a new responsibility, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), known collectively as the World Bank.
On the same day the Commission published a press release, in which Juncker congratulated Georgieva on her new role and expressed regret at her decision to leave the Commission.
It is arguable whether Georgieva’s return to the World Bank can be seen as a promotion compared to the post of Commission Vice President responsible for the budget and human resources.
Georgieva was a candidate for the job of UN Secretary General which ultimately went to Portugal’s António Guterres.
In the case of her UN bid, Georgieva had informed Juncker, as his spokesperson Margaritis Schinas confirmed in November 2015.
After her UN setback, it was rumoured that Georgieva had plans to seek other international positions, which clearly indicated she had the intention of leaving the Commission.
The website Politico.eu quoted a source saying that Georgieva considers Martin Selmayr, Juncker’s chief of cabinet, to have a “poisonous” influence on the Commission, and that she had reached the limits of her patience working in such an environment.
EurActiv invited Selmayr to comment on the circumstance of Georgieva’s departure, but received no answer.
Georgieva will stay in the Commission possibly until 31 December 2016, depending on the development of the ongoing budgetary negotiations with the European Parliament.
EurActiv repeatedly asked Commission spokespersons if the Code of Conduct of Commissioners allows them to be job hunting, but received no answer.
It is also unclear whether there is a conflict of interest in Georgieva continuing to work for the Commission, before taking her World Bank job. The Commission is an important financial contributor to the World Bank.