World Bank president David Malpass will step down from his post at the end of June, nearly a year before his term expires.
The bank issued a statement on Wednesday saying Malpass, who was appointed to his position by former US president Donald Trump, had informed the board of his decision to step down after four years “to pursue new challenges”.
“It has been an enormous honour and privilege to serve as president of the world’s premier development institution alongside so many talented and exceptional people,” Malpass said in a statement.
The US and other big World Bank shareholders have been pressuring the bank over the past year to step up efforts on tackling global challenges, including climate change, alongside its traditional mandate of tackling global poverty.
That pressure intensified after Malpass refused to say whether he believed in human-caused climate change at a conference in September, despite repeated questioning. He later said he had been misunderstood.
Last week, US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen urged the bank’s leadership to “quickly” put in place reforms to free up more money to address climate change.
The US is the largest shareholder in the international finance institution, which provides funding for developing countries.