Press Release

New President Named for Center for Global Development

September 06, 2016

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Forrest Rilling
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After an extensive international search, the Center for Global Development (CGD) is delighted to announce that Masood Ahmed is to become its new president, succeeding founding president Nancy Birdsall, who is stepping down after 15 years.

Ahmed will join CGD in early 2017, after leaving his current position as Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the IMF. The Fund’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde has described him as a “visionary leader” in his role overseeing its work in the region. In a career spanning 35 years, he has also led the IMF’s External Relations Department, and held senior leadership positions at DFID and the World Bank, driving international economic policy relating to debt, aid effectiveness, trade, and global economic prospects. He was the senior Bank manager responsible for the HIPC Debt Initiative, which to date has provided debt relief packages to 36 countries worth $76 billion.

CGD’s Board Chair Lawrence H. Summers, who led the search committee, said: “Masood brings intellectual heft, policy expertise and a proven record in working to increase global prosperity.  His fresh ideas will enhance CGD’s reputation as a center of excellence for development policy. He will build on the strong foundations established by Nancy Birdsall for rigorous, evidence-based research and practical policy ideas.”

Ahmed, currently a member of CGD’s Advisory Group, said: “I am honored and excited to be able to continue CGD’s great work and take it to the next level. CGD occupies a prime position in the development, policy and research worlds; in my career these have also been my worlds, and I’ve always admired CGD’s unique brand of intellectually authoritative, politically smart, accessible research.”

Birdsall will stay on at CGD as President Emeritus and a senior fellow. She expressed delight at her successor. “Masood has been a longtime friend and adviser to me and to CGD,” she said. “No one better combines deep understanding of today’s development challenges with a clear-eyed grip on the potential and limitations of the rich world and the international economic institutions to make a difference. He will be a wise leader with deep experience on what CGD is about: how the global system can be made to work better for the world’s poor."

The Center for Global Development works to reduce global poverty and inequality through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community. A nimble, independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit think tank, our world-class researchers focus on a wide range of policy areas that affect development.

A global, competitive search for Birdsall’s successor was conducted by the internationally renowned recruitment firm Russell Reynolds, directed by the search committee that comprised mainly members of the CGD Board Executive Committee, led by Chair Lawrence H. Summers.