Elizabeth L. Littlefield was appointed by President Obama as the President and CEO of OPIC, the US Government’s Development Finance Institution. Operating in 105 countries, OPIC manages a $16 bn portfolio of financing and insurance to support private investment in sustainable economic development, especially in the world’s poorest countries. Under Littlefield’s leadership, OPIC’s annual commitments to renewable resources projects grew ten-fold in three years to $1.5 bn, while generating increasing income for the federal budget. She has also instituted major reforms of the agency’s policies, systems and processes and introduced new financial innovations to augment the agency’s development impact.
From 2000 until 2010 Ms. Littlefield was Chief Executive Officer of CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a policy and research center dedicated to advancing poor people’s access to financial services. Housed at the World Bank, CGAP develops innovative solutions, promotes industry standards, provides market intelligence and data, and advises governments, financial institutions and investors. During that time Ms. Littlefield also served as a Director for the World Bank’s Financial & Private Sector division.
Prior to joining CGAP in 1999, Ms. Littlefield was JP Morgan’s Managing Director in charge of capital markets and financing in emerging Europe, Middle East and Africa. Her responsibilities encompassed public and private financings for governments, corporations and banks, and related advisory work. In that role, she led the inaugural bond issues for the majority of the countries that tapped the markets for the first time in the 1990s. Prior to that she set up JP Morgan’s emerging markets debt trading department in London and was JPM’s Head Debt Trader for Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia. She also served as a Director in JP Morgan’s Paris office, among other positions.
Ms. Littlefield has served on the Boards and Executive Committees of the MasterCard Foundation, Calvert Foundation and Women’s World Banking, among others. She was a founder of the Emerging Markets Charity in the UK. She currently serves on thePresident’s Export Cabinet, is the Chairperson of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Social Innovation and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Ms. Littlefield also spent 1989-1990 in West and Central Africa providing banking consultancy to several start-up microfinance institutions.
Ms Littlefield taught Financial Sector Development as an Adjunct Professor in the Masters Program at the School of Advanced International Studies (S.A.I.S.). She is a graduate of Brown University and also attended Ecole Nationale de Sciences Politiques in Paris.
Ms. Littlefield spoke in conversation with Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School and Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek. View Event Recap.