The ups and downs of ADB’s past 4 presidents

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Takehiko Nakao
Takehiko Nakao, new president of the Asian Development Bank

A Japanese male has traditionally helmed the Asian Development Bank (ADB) since its inception in 1966, bringing into the fold extensive experience from the financial realm – and the newest president of the multilateral bank is no different.

Unanimously elected by the ADB Board of Governors on April 26, Takehiko Nakao became the bank’s ninth president.

Nakao, Japan’s former Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs, joins a lineage of leaders that have overseen great developmental drives in Asia, as well as attracted waves of acrimony over controversial decisions that affected some of the world’s poorest populations.

Here is a list of some past ADB presidents that cover the range of vicissitudes their tenures have entailed.

Haruhiko Kuroda (1 February 2005 – 18 March 2013)

Under the leadership of Haruhiko Kuroda, the established the ADB-administered ASEAN Infrastructure Fund, the largest fund ever created by the 10-nation bloc. Through this initiative, the ADB is set to lend some $300 to $400 million a year for key infrastructure projects in ASEAN, a region starved for crucial building blocks needed to continue attracting investment.

Kuroda’s tenure covered a period of astronomical growth Asia, as well as challenges when the global economy sunk during the 2007/08 global financial crisis. The slump in exports across many emerging nations in Asia linked to capsizing of economies in the developed world prompted the ADB to establish its $3 billion Countercyclical Support Facility to meet urgent needs.

Tadao Chino (16 January 1999 – 31 January 2005)

Tadao Chino’s presidency was defined by the challenges of rectifying post-Asia financial crisis economies. His tenure was also met with public outcry over controversial projects funded by the ADB.

In May 2000, about 2,000 demonstrators confronted police outside a meeting the bank was holding in Chiang Mai, protesting ADB-funded projects. Among the litany of demands they sought to present Chino included that the bank stop making loans that increase the indebtedness of poor nations, end funding for a controversial wastewater treatment project near Bangkok and quit making loans to governments that disrupt the lives of small farmers and the poor.

While Chino had a hard hand to play during his tenure, he also managed to play a proactive role in post-conflict reconstruction in several Asian countries, including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Timor-Leste.

Mitsuo Sato (24 November 1993 – 15 January 1999)

The ADB’s sixth president, Mitsuo Sato’s administration was met with criticism for funding a hydroelectric dam in central Laos, a country that is currently plying for investor support to create a large portfolio of dams on the Mekong River.

Funded by the ADB and a consortium including the governments of Norway, Thailand and Australia, as well as the Theun-Hinboun Hydropower Company, the 210-mega watt Nam Theun-Hinboun hydropower project displaced 6,000 people. While activist groups claim that the bank overlooked major environmental and social impacts.

The ADB declared, “The first privately financed infrastructure in Laos PDR, Theun-Hinboun will serve as a model for future hydro power development.” The project came in play when Sato’s administration was re-organising the ADB to be more country focused.

Kimimasa Tarumizu (24 November 1989 – 23 November 1993)

The ADB moved to its current headquarters in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila under the tenure of former President Kimimasa Tarumizu. The fifth ADB president was called out for his “poor leadership” while overseeing and administration that aimed to serve as a “non-political cloak” to “legitmise controversial policies.”

Under Tarumizu, the ADB entered new markets with the launch in 1991 of a $300 million “dragon bond” issue, which was offered simultaneously in the capital markets of Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei. By the same year, cumulative total lending from the ADB reached $37.6 billion for 1,039 projects.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Takehiko Nakao, new president of the Asian Development Bank

A Japanese male has traditionally helmed the Asian Development Bank (ADB) since its inception in 1966, bringing into the fold extensive experience from the financial realm – and the newest president of the multilateral bank is no different.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Takehiko Nakao
Takehiko Nakao, new president of the Asian Development Bank

A Japanese male has traditionally helmed the Asian Development Bank (ADB) since its inception in 1966, bringing into the fold extensive experience from the financial realm – and the newest president of the multilateral bank is no different.

Unanimously elected by the ADB Board of Governors on April 26, Takehiko Nakao became the bank’s ninth president.

Nakao, Japan’s former Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs, joins a lineage of leaders that have overseen great developmental drives in Asia, as well as attracted waves of acrimony over controversial decisions that affected some of the world’s poorest populations.

Here is a list of some past ADB presidents that cover the range of vicissitudes their tenures have entailed.

Haruhiko Kuroda (1 February 2005 – 18 March 2013)

Under the leadership of Haruhiko Kuroda, the established the ADB-administered ASEAN Infrastructure Fund, the largest fund ever created by the 10-nation bloc. Through this initiative, the ADB is set to lend some $300 to $400 million a year for key infrastructure projects in ASEAN, a region starved for crucial building blocks needed to continue attracting investment.

Kuroda’s tenure covered a period of astronomical growth Asia, as well as challenges when the global economy sunk during the 2007/08 global financial crisis. The slump in exports across many emerging nations in Asia linked to capsizing of economies in the developed world prompted the ADB to establish its $3 billion Countercyclical Support Facility to meet urgent needs.

Tadao Chino (16 January 1999 – 31 January 2005)

Tadao Chino’s presidency was defined by the challenges of rectifying post-Asia financial crisis economies. His tenure was also met with public outcry over controversial projects funded by the ADB.

In May 2000, about 2,000 demonstrators confronted police outside a meeting the bank was holding in Chiang Mai, protesting ADB-funded projects. Among the litany of demands they sought to present Chino included that the bank stop making loans that increase the indebtedness of poor nations, end funding for a controversial wastewater treatment project near Bangkok and quit making loans to governments that disrupt the lives of small farmers and the poor.

While Chino had a hard hand to play during his tenure, he also managed to play a proactive role in post-conflict reconstruction in several Asian countries, including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Timor-Leste.

Mitsuo Sato (24 November 1993 – 15 January 1999)

The ADB’s sixth president, Mitsuo Sato’s administration was met with criticism for funding a hydroelectric dam in central Laos, a country that is currently plying for investor support to create a large portfolio of dams on the Mekong River.

Funded by the ADB and a consortium including the governments of Norway, Thailand and Australia, as well as the Theun-Hinboun Hydropower Company, the 210-mega watt Nam Theun-Hinboun hydropower project displaced 6,000 people. While activist groups claim that the bank overlooked major environmental and social impacts.

The ADB declared, “The first privately financed infrastructure in Laos PDR, Theun-Hinboun will serve as a model for future hydro power development.” The project came in play when Sato’s administration was re-organising the ADB to be more country focused.

Kimimasa Tarumizu (24 November 1989 – 23 November 1993)

The ADB moved to its current headquarters in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila under the tenure of former President Kimimasa Tarumizu. The fifth ADB president was called out for his “poor leadership” while overseeing and administration that aimed to serve as a “non-political cloak” to “legitmise controversial policies.”

Under Tarumizu, the ADB entered new markets with the launch in 1991 of a $300 million “dragon bond” issue, which was offered simultaneously in the capital markets of Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei. By the same year, cumulative total lending from the ADB reached $37.6 billion for 1,039 projects.

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