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Alex Thier appointed new Executive Director of ODI

Alex Thier headshotThe Overseas Development Institute today announced the appointment of Alex Thier, as its new Executive Director, following an extensive global recruitment search.

Alex, formerly a senior official at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), joins ODI from Triple Helix, a US-based consultancy firm which he founded to increase access to off-grid, renewable energy in Africa and Asia. 

Announcing the appointment, Chair of the ODI board, James Cameron said:

‘I am delighted to announce the appointment of Alex Thier as ODI’s new Executive Director. Alex is a proven leader with extensive international experience, high-level policy work, involvement in key innovative development initiatives of the past few years, as well as a deep personal commitment to the causes of poverty eradication and sustainable development. He has managed some of the world’s largest development programmes and led think tank initiatives on critical issues, including genocide prevention and confronting the problems of failed states. Alex joins ODI at a time of great challenge and great opportunity in the global effort to end extreme poverty and deliver sustainable development for all. We are delighted that he will lead ODI at this critical time.’

Responding to his announcement, Alex said:

‘I am very proud and excited to be joining ODI. Given the worldwide movement to end extreme poverty and leave no one behind and the challenges we face – from Syria to South Sudan, from migration to climate change – ODI’s mission and global reach is more important than ever. ODI’s work on issues such as inequality, humanitarian aid, good governance and inclusive, green growth can help millions of people around the world fulfill their potential. I look forward to working with ODI’s experts and wider network to drive an ambitious agenda that influences policy and practice in the UK, Europe and internationally.’ 

Alex will start as Executive Director of ODI in early 2017. 

Alex Thier – profile: Prior to founding Triple Helix, Alex held senior leadership roles at the US Agency for International Development (USAID). In his role as Chief of Policy, Planning, and Learning he represented the US in key international development fora, including on Financing for Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. As Assistant to the Administrator for Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs, he managed USAID’s multibillion dollar assistance programme, and more than 1000 staff in Washington, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the region. 

Alex also played a leadership role in the creation of several major international initiatives, including the Vision to End Extreme Poverty, the Sustainable Development Investment Partnership, the Addis Tax Initiative, the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, and the first ever US–China agreement on global development cooperation. At the US Institute of Peace, he led efforts to prevent genocide and mass atrocities and to help divided societies overcome the root causes of conflict. Earlier, he served as a legal advisor to the constitutional commissions of Afghanistan and South Sudan.

Alex has also held leadership positions in the United Nations (UN), Stanford University and several NGOs, and began his career as a humanitarian aid worker with the UN and Oxfam. He has authored and co-authored books, articles and op-eds in The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Policy. He has a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School, a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a bachelor’s degree with honours, from Brown University. Alex is a US national. He is married to Tamara Gould, a documentary filmmaker and producer, and they have two children.