James Wolfensohn, a venture financier who fixed the accounts of significant American social organizations and filled in as leader of the World Bank, kicked the bucket Wednesday at 86 years old.
World Bank Group President David Malpas offered recognition, saying that Wolfensohn “honed its emphasis on neediness decrease and tried harder to battle debasement, offer voice to poor people, and amplify the effect of advancement speculations.”
“Jim changed the World Bank Group, expanding decentralization, propelling the Bank innovatively, and making the association more open and straightforward,” Malpas said.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva hailed Wolfensohn’s “lifelong commitment… to fight poverty with passion and professionalism.”
“He was a brilliant financier, a generous philanthropist and, above all, a great humanitarian who always put people first,” she said.
Wolfensohn also served as chairman of the Boards of Carnegie Hall and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
The Institute for Advanced Study described him as “a global champion of human rights, economic justice, scholarship, and the arts.”
Wolfensohn was born in Sydney, Australia and was a veteran of the Royal Australian Air Force and a member of the 1956 Australian Olympic fencing team.
He worked as a lawyer at an Australian law firm and went on to earn an MBA from Harvard University in 1959.
Wolfensohn, who became a naturalized US citizen in 1980, died at his home in Manhattan.