The World Bank's board on Friday delayed a final decision on bank chief Paul Wolfowitz's role in a promotion he arranged for his girlfriend and referred some issues to a committee for further investigation.
After a late-hour meeting, the 24-nation board said it had agreed on a procedure to deal quickly with the issue.
"The executive directors agreed on a process to deal with the situation urgently, effectively and in an orderly manner," the board said in a two-page statement, written in complex bureaucratic language.
In the statement, the board said it had discussed issues related to conflict of interest and a possible violation of staff rules during a meeting.
Still, it said there were a number of issues that needed further investigation. "The ad hoc group will make early recommendations for decision by the executive directors," the board said.
Wolfowitz has faced calls by World Bank staff for his resignation and questions about his leadership over his handling of the promotion for Shaha Riza, a former senior communications officer at the bank.
Over the weekend, World Bank shareholder governments said they were deeply concerned that the scandal had damaged the bank's credibility and could prevent the institution from functioning properly.
Senior Democratic lawmakers and other critics have demanded Wolfowitz's resignation, saying his actions have undermined his campaign against corruption in the developing world.
But Wolfowitz has said he does not intend to step down and last week he apologized for how he handled Riza's promotion, saying he was new at the bank when it was arranged.
The White House has repeated its support for Wolfowitz, who had been nominated by President George W. Bush to head the World Bank in 2005.
The United States is the World Bank's biggest shareholder, holding 16.4 percent of total board votes, followed by ally Japan which has 7.9 per cent.
A major decision by the board requires an 85 per cent majority, with the US holding enough votes to block any major decision.