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Press Release

Nancy Birdsall to Step Down as CGD President

November 16, 2015

The Center for Global Development today announced that Nancy Birdsall is to step down as president in 2016, once a successor is in place. Birdsall, CGD’s founding president, will stay with the Center as a senior fellow.

“This is an exciting moment for me and for CGD,” said Birdsall. “The Center, though still youthful and disruptive, is in fact a mature and established institution. And the key to CGD’s success has always been hard-wired into its culture: a value-driven ‘think and do’ approach based on top-grade research and practical ideas. That’s bigger than any one person. Knowing that makes me confident that this transition will inspire change along with continuity.”

Birdsall, a former executive vice president at the Inter-American Development Bank and head of the World Bank policy research department, co-founded the Center in 2001 to analyze how the policies and actions of rich country governments and international financial institutions affect people in the developing world.

Under Birdsall’s leadership, CGD has attracted a cadre of intellectual heavyweights and leading development practitioners, and the work of CGD experts has been included in dozens of practical policy solutions, including Advance Market Commitments to accelerate vaccine development; Development Impact Bonds to attract private finance into development programs; Cash on Delivery payments to make aid more effective; a deal to reduce Nigerian debt by $30bn; and the creation of the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation to generate more evidence-based development solutions.

CGD’s board chair, former US Treasury secretary and Harvard University president emeritus Lawrence Summers, will head the search committee and the global search process to find Birdsall’s successor.

“Nancy has built an exceptional group of scholars who make a real difference to development policy around the world,” said Summers. “Our task now is to find another outstanding leader worthy of CGD; someone who also values rigor, evidence, and intellectual collaboration; who will enhance its formidable reputation as a policy crucible; and who will continue its mission to reduce global poverty and inequality.”

The firm of Russell Reynolds has been engaged to work with the search committee to conduct the global search for Birdsall’s successor. Enquiries should be directed to Jamie Hechinger

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Photo of Nancy Birdsall
Senior Fellow, President Emeritus