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The Senior Vice President of Operations (SVPOP) has its origins in the Office of the Vice President of Burke Knapp (OVPBK), or also referred to as the Vice President of Operations. Burke Knapp's Vice Presidency was established on July 24, 1956, as one of three vice presidencies replacing the Office of the Vice President of Robert Garner (OVPRG). Knapp reported directly to the President. Knapp was assigned responsibility for the Bank's operational activities, including:
- lending operations;
- economic, financial and technical research and analysis;
- economic survey missions and other technical assistance activities; and
- liaison with other lending and aid agencies on above matters.
Knapp was also designated Chairman of the Staff Loan Committee and the Area Department Head meetings. The following departments reported to Knapp: the Departments of Operations, or Area Departments - Europe, Africa and Australasia, Asia and the Middle East, and Western Hemisphere; the Department of Technical Operations (TOD); and the Economic Staff (ECS).
In 1965, the TOD was terminated and replaced by the new Projects Department (PRJ). PRJ continued to report to OVPBK.
In 1966, with the Departure of Vice President Geoffrey Wilson (OVPGW), responsibility for the Information Department (INFO) was transferred to OVPBK. In 1967, the Information Department (INFO) was transferred to the Director of Development Services (DSD), who reported directly to the Office of the President (EXC).
In 1968, the Projects Department (PRJ) was separated from OVPBK, and reported to Director and Vice President of Finance (VPF) Siem Aldewereld.
In 1972, the OVPBK was terminated. Its functions were transferred to the newly established Office of the Senior Vice President of Operations (SVPOP), which was also headed by J. Burke Knapp.
The Senior Vice President of Operations (SVPOP) was established on October 1, 1972, and reported directly to the Office of the President (EXC). The SVPOP was created as part of the comprehensive 1972 Bank-wide Reorganization, which upgraded the Bank's former Area Departments to new Regional Vice Presidencies (RVPs), and transferred most of the technical staff involved in project preparation and implementation from the Projects Department (PRJ) to the newly created regional projects departments located in the new RVPs, in order to more effectively fuse sector skills with country knowledge. The SVPOP would assist the Bank President in managing the integrated projects and operations staffs. Freed from day-to-day operational tasks, Knapp would concentrate on establishing operating objectives, priorities and policies, planning, spurring innovation and improving overall quality, efficiency and effectiveness.
At the date of its establishment, the following vice presidencies composing the Bank's Operations Complex reported to SVPOP: the Regional Vice Presidencies (RVPs) of the Asia Vice Presidency (ASN), the East Africa Vice Presidency (EAN), the West Africa Vice Presidency (WAN), the Europe, Middle East, and North Africa Vice Presidency (EMN), and the Latin America and the Caribbean Vice Presidency (LCN); and the newly established Vice President of Central Projects (CPSVP). The SVPOP also served as the Chairman for the Bank's Loan Committee and the Operational Vice Presidents (OVP, formerly the Area Department Heads) meetings. The SVPOP was also supported by a Front Office team consisting of a Senior Operations Adviser, and a Personal Assistant to the SVPOP.
In 1974, the Asia Vice Presidency (ASN) was split into the South Asia Vice Presidency (ASN) and the East Asia and Pacific Vice Presidency (AEN).
In 1978, Ernest Stern succeeded Burke Knapp and the SVPOP was re-titled the Vice President of Operations (VPO). The functions and responsibilities remained unchanged. In 1980, the position of the VPO of the Operations Complex was again upgraded to Senior Vice President of Operations (SVPOP).
In 1982, the CPSVP was terminated and replaced by the Operations Policy Vice Presidency (OPSVP). Some staff of CPSVP were also absorbed by the new Energy and Industry Vice Presidency (EIS). Both reported to the SVPOP.
In January 1983, the Secretariat of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) was subordinated under the SVPOP; accompanying the move of Warren Baum, who served as Chairman of CGIAR, from the OPSVP to the Front Office of the SVPOP.
In May 1983, a new Vice President of Cofinancing (COF) was established with responsibility for all aspects of cofinancing policies and operations, and reported to theSVPOP. Later in 1983, the Office of the Management Systems and Budget (SVPMS) was added to the SVPOP Front Office to support budget formulation functions of the SVPOP and the Operations Complex.
In 1984, a Special Office for African Affairs was established in the Front Office of the SVPOP to coordinate and monitor a joint action program to expand technical and financial assistance to the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.
In July 1984, the Operations Information Systems (SVPMI) Unit was established in theSVPOP Front Office to support and develop Management Information Systems (MIS) and database administration for the SVPOP and the Operations Complex.
In the May 1987 Reorganization, the Operations Complex was fundamentally restructured, the functions of the SVPOP redefined, and the SVPOP position given a new acronym (OPNSV). The main features of the reorganization were the consolidation of the former six Regional Vice Presidencies (RVP) into four, including: the Africa Vice Presidency (AFR); the Asia Vice Presidency (ASI); the Europe, Middle East, and North Africa Vice Presidency (EMENA); and the Latin America and Caribbean Vice Presidency (LAC). The reorganization also resulted in the creation of Country Departments (CDs), which combined functions previously divided between Programs and Projects Departments, and the establishment of Regional Technical Departments (TDs) taking on some of the functions of the former OPSVP and the EIS.
The newly reorganized Senior Vice President of Operations (OPNSV) served as a member of the President's senior management team and as Chief Operations Officer. The main responsibilities of the reorganized OPNSV included:
- advising the President on major operational issues;
- acting as the Bank's spokesman on operational matters vis-a-vis Part I and Part II counties;
- overseeing the formulation and implementation of the Bank's economic and social development programs; and
- ensuring the quality of the Bank's operational products and loans.
With the completion of the reorganization's second phase in September 1987, the following vice -presidencies and departments, which made up the Operations Complex, reported to OPNSV: the four Regional Vice Presidents (RVPs) of the Africa Vice Presidency (AFR), the Asia Vice Presidency (ASI), the Europe, Middle East, and North Africa Vice Presidency (EMENA), and the Latin America and Caribbean Vice Presidency (LAC); the newly established Vice President of Financial Intermediation (FIS); the Vice President of Cofinancing (COF); the Central Operations Department (COD); and the Economic Advisory Staff (EAS). The OPNSV also served as Chairman for the Operations Committee (OC, formerly the Loan Committee) and the Operations Policy Committee (OPC), which were composed of members from the Bank's Operations Complex.
The OPNSV was supported by a newly reorganized Front Office, or Operations Staff (OPN), which included: the Director of Operations Staff (OPN); the Special Adviser, Lending and Budget Operations; the Special Adviser, Personnel, Budget, and Information Management; the Chief Personnel Officer; and the Special Assistant to the OPNSV. The Operations Information Systems (SVPMI) Unit acronym was changed to the OPNMI, and the Office of the Management Systems and Budget (SVPMS) acronym was changed to the OPNMS.
Moeen Qureshi succeeded Ernest Stern as the new Senior Vice President for Operations (OPNSV).
In January 1989, the OPNMI was upgraded to a division and renamed the Operations Information Services Division (OPNIS).
In June 1989,the FIS was combined with the COF and renamed the Cofinancing and Financial Intermediation Vice Presidency (CFS). This was expected to enhance the Bank's ability to deal with debt issues and improve the service to the Regions and the borrowers.
In 1991, following the appointment of World Bank President Lewis T. Preston, the senior management structure was heavily reorganized, and the Bank's senior vice presidencies were abolished, including OPNSV. As a result, the Economic Advisory Staff (EAS) was terminated, and its staff and functions were absorbed by the new Development Policy Group (DPG) located in the Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC); the Central Operations Department (COD) was transferred to the Vice President of Sector Policy and Research (OSPVP); and the Vice President of Cofinancing and Financial Advisory Services (CFS) reported to the newly appointed Managing Director Attila Karaosmanoglu. The four RVPs reported to Office of the President (EXC) and the newly established Managing Directors, who served as a broad administrative oversight team that supported the President. The Office of the Management Systems and Budget (OPNMS) of the OPNSV Front Office was terminated, and the Operations Information Services Division (OPNIS) functions were split between the new Information Services Division (CODIS) in the Central Operations Department (COD) and the Budget Policy and Systems Division (PBDPS) in the Planning and Budgeting Department (PBD).