Philippe Le Houérou, chief executive officer (CEO) of the International Finance Corporation, the Bank’s private sector arm, announced via Twitter on 7 June that he will be stepping down from his position, effective 1 October. Le Houérou’s successor will be appointed by the IFC’s board of directors, based on the recommendation of World Bank President David Malpass, per the IFC’s Articles of Agreement.
Le Houérou was appointed IFC CEO in 2015. Under his leadership, the IFC announced new policies on retaliation against civil society and a Green Equity Strategy to encourage its commercial clients to divest from coal over time (see Observer Summer 2019; Winter 2018). He also oversaw a recent wave of reforms, as part of the IFC’s capital increase (see Dispatch Springs 2018), aimed at bringing greater accountability to the organisation.
However, despite these reforms, the IFC remained a laggard in terms of transparency, ranking 31st out of 52 organisations in the 2020 Aid Transparency Index. The IFC also continues to face criticism around the harmful environmental and social impacts of its lending (see Observer Summer 2020).
“Le Houérou has certainly set the IFC on the path towards much-needed important reforms to its financial intermediary lending including its commitment to climate through its new Green Equity Approach,” said Christian Donaldson of Oxfam International. “There is still more work to be done on several fronts including IFC’s accountability, but we hope the next CEO will build on Le Houérou’s efforts to engage with and listen to civil society voices.”