The World Bank president will leave his position in June, about a year ahead of when his term was set to expire.
Without giving a reason in particular, David Malpass made his decision public on social media.
He was selected by former US President Donald Trump and has come under fire for being a climate change sceptic.
When he claimed to be uncertain about whether fossil fuels were responsible for climate change the year before, the White House reprimanded him.
Later, he expressed regret for the words.
After working in the US Treasury Department during the Trump presidency, Mr. Malpass began his five-year tenure in April 2019.
In a statement, Mr. Malpass stated that he was satisfied with his work at the bank, which manages annual loans to developing nations in the billions of dollars.
Under his direction, “especially environmental financing” had achieved all-time highs.
In a statement posted on LinkedIn, he predicted that by the end of the current fiscal year, “we will be well-equipped to showcase sustainability more obviously in the mission of the World Bank Group, line up the objective with reserves, and set in motion an efficient transformation to increase the institution’s influence on individuals in the developing world.”
A contentious choice to run the World Bank, Mr. Malpass has long been known for his scepticism of multilateral organizations.
Former US Vice President Al Gore demanded that he be replaced at a September event, claiming that the bank was not doing enough to collect money for climate impacts and that it was “crazy to have a climate sceptic as the leader of the World Bank.”
When prompted to comment afterwards, Mr. Malpass stood his ground but refrained from claiming that fossil fuels were to blame for global warming.
In a follow-up interview with CNN, he admitted that he had not heard or answered the question well and that man-made pollutants were “obviously” a factor.
In a statement that made reference to the scandal, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who has been pushing for reform at the World Bank and other development agencies, praised Mr. Malpass for his services.
She announced that the US would provide a new nominee to head the bank shortly.
The biggest shareholder and primary source of funding for the World Bank is the United States.
Since the organization’s founding in the 1940s, when it was established to aid in the reconstruction of post-World War II Europe, an American has served as its head.