Prime minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown has disclosed that he expects an American to replace Paul Wolfowitz as president of the World Bank.
Mr Wolfowitz resigned from his post last week after a bitter row over his role in the promotion and salary increase of his partner in 2005 when he arrived at the Washington-based bank.
The head of the World Bank has traditionally been American since being created in 1945, with the US government largely responsible for naming the institution's president.
But the issue may be complicated by the backlash over Mr Wolfowitz's dealings with Shaha Riza two years ago, while his appointment itself had raised eyebrows due to him being a key architect of the war in Iraq.
A former deputy secretary of defence, Mr Wolfowitz was consistently given the support of George Bush since it emerged he had arranged a lucrative transfer for Ms Riza to the US state department, with the US president expressing his "regret" that he had been compelled to resign.
But nevertheless, Mr Brown, who will take over as leader of the Labour party and prime minister of Britain when Tony Blair steps down on June 27th, told reporters that he still expected the White House to name an American successor to Mr Wolfowitz, who leaves the World Bank on June 30th.
"The information I have is that the American administration are likely to nominate an American," he said at a meeting of G8 finance ministers in Berlin, in comments reported by the Reuters news agency.
"I understand that the American administration wishes to make early progress on this."
While the US has traditionally named the president of the World Bank, European governments normally hold sway over key appointments in the International Monetary Fund.