Sir Suma Chakrabarti assumes EBRD leadership

By Anthony Williams

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Sir Suma Chakrabarti took over the helm of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on 3 July 2012, becoming the sixth President of the international financial institution that was created in 1991. He replaces Thomas Mirow, who had run the Bank since 2008.

Sir Suma had previously been the most senior civil servant in the British Ministry of Justice. He was elected by the EBRD’s Board of Governors on 18 May.

Speaking on the first day of his presidency, Sir Suma said, “My first priority will be to build on the very strong foundations established by my predecessor and also by Bank staff over the last 21 years.”

Watch: Sir Suma on his priorities for the Bank

Watch: Sir Suma talks about building on the Bank’s success

Under his leadership the EBRD would remain a strong partner for existing countries of operations as they continue to deal with the financial crisis, while supporting economic progress in emerging Arab democracies.

The Bank would also continue to act in a manner “that is fully consistent with sound banking principles and with our triple A rating”.

He stressed that the EBRD’s ultimate goal was to make a difference in the countries that it serves. “We have to remember that we are doing this to have an impact on the ground. The EBRD has really set a benchmark on that. We must continue to invest in changing people’s lives,” he said. .

Sir Suma has long experience in international development economics and policy-making. Before taking his position at the Ministry of Justice he headed the UK’s Department for International Development.

Sir Suma has worked closely with economies undergoing substantial reform in eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East and North Africa. He played a key role developing the UK's successful Know-How Fund for central and eastern Europe, set up in the early 1990s, and worked with the European Commission in improving its programmes in the Middle East and North Africa.

After studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Oxford, he took a Masters in Development Economics at the University of Sussex.

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