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Statement: Sir Suma Chakrabarti new Chair of ODI Board

Written by Sara Pantuliano

Press Release

ODI today announced the appointment of Sir Suma Chakrabarti, as the new Chair of its Board of Trustees.

Sir Suma brings extensive experience in international development, government and finance, including most recently leading the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). During Sir Suma’s Presidency of EBRD (2012 to 2020) he expanded the institution’s geographical focus to the Middle East, and placed greater focus on supporting the poorest countries and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals. He also expanded the EBRD’s membership to include all G20 countries.

Sir Suma was previously Permanent Secretary at the UK Departments for International Development and Ministry of Justice (2002 to 2012). He started his international development career as an ODI Fellow in Botswana in the early 1980s.

On being elected as Chair by the ODI Board of Trustees, Sir Suma Chakrabarti said:

‘I am delighted to be returning to ODI, where I started my development journey nearly 40 years ago as an ODI Fellow. ODI is Britain’s premier independent think tank, the largest in Europe focusing on global affairs and international development. So I am hugely excited about helping ODI - with my excellent trustee colleagues and the management team under Sara Pantuliano’s dynamic leadership - to tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities to enhance its reputation and reach in the years ahead, starting with the 60th anniversary. There is so much to achieve and ODI’s contribution is essential. I also want to pay tribute to my predecessor, James Cameron, for his tremendous contribution to ODI and wish him every success for the future’

Chief Executive, Sara Pantuliano, said:

‘I am very much looking forward to working with Sir Suma Chakrabarti, who brings exceptional leadership and international experience to ODI. Sir Suma is exactly the champion we need as we launch our #GlobalReset reflecting on how we build a fairer world beyond Coronavirus. We have long been proud to claim Sir Suma as a member of the ODI family through his Fellowship, but to now have him as Board Chair is an extraordinary privilege.

I want to thank James Cameron for leading the ODI Board 2012 to 2020, and for his support since I became Chief Executive. James inspired us to do more and better on sustainable development and confronting the climate emergency, and has been a consistent and formidable advocate for ODI.’

James Cameron, outgoing Chair of the ODI Board, said:

‘It’s been an absolute privilege to chair the ODI Board. There have been some tough times to get through recently but, with the huge help and support of the whole Board and the staff of this wonderful organisation, we’ve made it through and can set our sights firmly on the future. ODI will continue to provide world class research, insight and advice on complex global problems. And it will do so with a dedication and love for humanity that inspires confidence that we will find the right solutions’

Sir Suma takes over as Chair of the ODI Board in October 2020 when current Chair, James Cameron, will stand down from the role. James will remain a member of the Board of Trustees.

Find out more about ODI’s leadership here.