Green and Social Bond Principles to elect new chair after Odaro’s IFC departure

ICMA-supported group will choose new chair from issuer cohort, IFC to launch a competitive process to appoint her replacement.

The executive committee of the Green, Social and Sustainability-linked Bond Principles is set to elect a new chair after the incumbent, Denise Odaro, announced she was leaving the IFC.

Denise Odaro
Denise Odaro

Odaro, currently head of investor relations and sustainable finance coordination at the IFC, said she would be leaving her role for “a new adventure”. She took up the IFC position in 2012 after working for the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, and has sat on a number of ESG bodies, including advisory groups for both the London and Nigerian stock exchanges.

The new chair will be elected by members of the 24-strong committee from among the eight members in the issuer category by the end of September. Membership of the issuer section is dominated by multilateral development banks including the Nordic Investment Bank, EBRD and African Development Bank. Only two non-bank issuers, Fannie Mae and Iberdrola, are on the committee.

While a number of other members, including KfW and JPMorgan, have issued sustainable debt, they sit within the investor and underwriter groups, respectively. BlackRock’s head of fixed income ESG, Ashley Schulten, and BNP Paribas’ head of sustainable capital markets, Agnès Gourc, are vice-chairs representing each group.

The influential committee is responsible for guiding the overall strategy of the principles, the de facto market standard for sustainable debt worldwide, as well as having the authority to approve amendments and additions.

The IFC has yet to name Odaro’s replacement. A spokesperson said it was planning to launch “a competitive selection”. Vera Sevrouk, a senior financial officer within the investor relations and funding team, will temporarily take over Odaro’s duties, while Elena Panomarenko, head of IFC’s funding for Europe, will replace her on the executive committee.

The IFC was one of the earliest green bond issuers, launching its programme in 2010. By the end of June 2021, it had raised $10.6 billion from 178 bonds across 20 currencies.