On 21 July, World Bank President David Malpass announced the appointment of Indermit Gill as the new Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics of the Bank, effective from 1 September. Gill replaced Carmen Reinhart who, according to Reuters, returned to Harvard University as her two-year public service leave from the institution ended on 1 July. Alongside her fellow Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff, Reinhart’s research was widely criticised for cementing austerity policies after the 2008 global financial crisis and from which she was described in a 2013 Financial Times article as the “intellectual godmother…of austerity” (see Observer Summer 2020).
Originally from India, Gill was the Bank’s vice president for equitable growth, finance, and institutions, and has taught at Georgetown University and the University of Chicago. He was the Director of the 2009 World Development Report on Economic Geography, which has had its critics.
Gill takes up the position at a moment in which the multilateral system is under increasing strain (see Observer Summer 2022). The World Bank’s response to multiple crises facing middle- and low-income countries is under close scrutiny, amid calls for a departure from its market-led approach (see Observer Autumn 2022) and where, as highlighted by his predecessor in an interview for Bloomberg Television, “…debt risks and debt crises are not hypothetical” (see Observer Autumn 2022).