WASHINGTON (January 24, 2022)—World Resources Institute (WRI) is pleased to announce that Dr. Frannie Léautier (Senior Partner, Southbridge Group; CEO, Southbridge Investments), Michael Miebach (CEO, Mastercard) and Gloria Walton (President & CEO, The Solutions Project) have joined its Global Board of Directors. 

“We are honored to bring three such widely respected, passionate and knowledgeable leaders onto WRI’s Board,” said Ani Dasgupta, President & CEO, WRI. “Frannie brings significant experience in global finance and sustainable development, particularly in Africa, to her role. She has a proven track record of transformational leadership and stakeholder engagement across many of WRI’s areas of expertise — including her invaluable work on the jury of the WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities, as a member of the WRI Cities Advisory Group and as a commissioner on the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.”

Dr. Léautier is a renowned finance and development expert, with long-standing global experience leading organizations in the private, public and nonprofit arenas. She currently serves as Senior Partner at SouthBridge Group, a pan-African investment bank whose clientele includes governments, companies and several multilateral development banks. Prior to joining SouthBridge, Dr. Léautier held various leadership roles at the Trade and Development Bank (TDB) Group, including Vice Chair of the Board, Independent Director of the Board and Special Advisor to the President, before becoming TDB’s first Chief Operating Officer. Prior to her work at TDB, she held leadership roles at the World Bank and African Development Bank. 

“I am proud to join WRI’s Global Board,” said Dr. Léautier. “I have collaborated with the organization for years on sustainable cities, finance and economics, and I am excited to build upon the work we have already done together. WRI’s global reach, cross-cutting expertise and big ideas will be critical in tackling the interconnected challenges facing the world today.”

Dr. Léautier has also founded two companies and holds advisory and governance roles on several boards. She holds a Master of Science in Transportation and a PhD in Infrastructure Systems from MIT. She also holds a doctorate in Humane Letters from North Central College and a doctorate in Law from Lancaster University, honoris causa.

“Michael is a true champion of integrating sustainability into how companies do business,” said David Blood, Co-Chair, WRI Global Board of Directors. “His contributions to Mastercard’s environmental and social impacts speak volumes about his innovative approach. He brings fresh thinking and enthusiasm to his work — reaching billions of consumers every day — and I am confident he will bring the same value to the Board.” 

After ten years of holding senior positions within Mastercard, Michael Miebach was elevated to the role of President & CEO in January 2021. As chief product officer, he was critical to setting the strategy that would evolve Mastercard to further support a wide range of customers and partners in a more digital world. Miebach has also played a crucial role in Mastercard’s sustainability initiatives, including its November 2021 commitment to accelerate its net zero target and activate its expansive network to scale climate action. In addition to his work at Mastercard, Miebach is a member of the Fannie Mae Digital Advisory Council and the Board of Directors for Accion, a nonprofit organization that provides financial tools to underserved communities and encourages industry leaders and regulators to promote financial inclusion. He is also a board member at-large for the Ronald McDonald House of New York City.

“I've seen first-hand the need for science-backed tools to deal with the world’s challenges,” said Miebach. “It’s up to us all – individuals, public sector, private sector – to take collective action if we are going to maintain the health of our planet. I’ll bring that focus and personal commitment to our work with WRI’s global network.” 

Michael joined Mastercard in 2010 to lead its Middle East and Africa operations, where he helped shape and advance the company’s financial inclusion efforts across the region. Earlier in his career, Michael held senior roles at Barclays Bank and Citibank. He holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Passau in Germany.

“Gloria is a devoted climate justice organizer and advocate, and I’m thrilled to welcome her to WRI’s Board,” said Frances Beinecke, member, WRI Global Board. “Her experience fighting for a just and equitable transition is unparalleled, and her perspective will surely benefit WRI’s work supporting marginalized and vulnerable communities. WRI and the environmental movement as a whole are in need of the insights, savvy and focus that activists like Gloria bring to the table.” 

Gloria Walton is an award-winning organizer and writer, and currently serves as President and CEO of The Solutions Project. During her first year in philanthropy, she helped move $112 million to support grassroots organizations and the climate justice movement. Walton was named Inside Philanthropy’s 2020 New President to Watch and one of the 100 Power Players in Philanthropy. She is also a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and helped launch the first-ever Black Climate Week in 2021. Her work on environmental, racial and economic justice has been featured in major publications such as TIME, HuffPost and CBS This Morning.

“Black, Indigenous, immigrant, women and People of Color are most impacted by the climate crisis, and this proximity means they are also creating intersectional solutions that center climate justice,” said Walton. “I’m pleased to join WRI’s Board to increase resources and attention for climate justice as a central force for global transformation. I’m excited to carry forward the values solidified in community organizing and movement-building into principled actions alongside world leaders committed to a more equitable, just and sustainable society.”

The Solutions Project funds and amplifies grassroots climate justice organizations led by Black, Indigenous, immigrant, women and People of Color to accelerate a just clean energy transition and ensure equitable access to resources. The nonprofit has distributed more than $25 million in grants to over 150 community organizations across the U.S., sovereign Indigenous nations and Puerto Rico. 

Dr. Léautier, Miebach and Walton all began serving on WRI’s Global Board in January 2022. Find a complete list of WRI’s Global Board Directors here.

About World Resources Institute  
World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization that spans more than 60 countries, with international offices in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States, regional offices in Ethiopia (for Africa) and the Netherlands (for Europe), and program offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Our more than 1,600 experts and staff turn big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. More information at www.wri.org or on Twitter @WorldResources.