President Obama has nominated Korean-born US academic Jim Yong Kim to be the next president of the World Bank.
The nomination of the Dartmouth College President, a doctor and former director of the HIV/Aids department at the World Health Organization, is a surprise.
A US citizen has led the Bank since it was founded in 1944, but developing nations say it is time for change.
Amidst this growing pressure, President Obama stressed Dr Kim’s international experience in his statement announcing the nomination.
The deadline for nominations to replace current president Robert Zoellick is 18:00 Washington time (22:00 GMT) on Friday.
Dr. Kim, 52, had not been among the names rumored to be under consideration by President Obama, which included former White House adviser Larry Summers, Pepsi head Indra Nooyi, and UN ambassador Susan Rice.
Dr Kim is a leading figure in global health. As well as his work at the WHO, he co-founded the health organization Partners in Health in 1987.
Born in Seoul, he moved with his family to the US at the age of five.