World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced on Monday he would step down next month, more than three years before his current term was due to expire.
The decision ends Kim's six-year tenure and may give US President Donald Trump decisive influence over the future leadership of the global development lender.
“It has been a great honour to serve as president of this remarkable institution, full of passionate individuals dedicated to the mission of ending extreme poverty in our lifetime,” Kim said in a statement.
Kim, who became president in 2012, is to join an as-yet unnamed firm focusing on investments in developing countries, the bank said in a statement, and will return to the board of Partners-in-Health, which he co-founded.
Under Kim's leadership, the bank set the goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 and ramped up financing.
Last year, it also won approval for a sharp $13 billion capital increase after acceding to requests from the Trump administration to curb loans to high-income countries like China.
Kim's tenure was also marked by high levels of disaffection among World Bank staff, who chafed at a widespread internal restructuring that Kim began.
World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva will serve as interim president upon Kim's February 1 departure, the bank said in a statement.