We are delighted to announce the appointment of Afsaneh Mashayekhi Beschloss to become our next Chairperson. Ms. Beschloss will lead a diverse international board responsible for our strategic direction as we advance the open Web as a public good and a basic right. She will assume her new position on November 1, when Rick Haythornthwaite steps down as chairman after more than three years of service.
Commenting on her appointment, Afsaneh Mashayekhi Beschloss said:
“The Web Foundation, and its founder, are playing a vital role in spreading knowledge, reducing inequality and promoting more tolerant and just societies in our digital era. I am honoured to accept this appointment.”
Ms. Beschloss brings nearly three decades of public and private sector experience to the role. She is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rock Creek, a global investment and advisory firm active in global and local emerging markets. Before founding Rock Creek, she was Managing Director and Partner at the Carlyle Group. Prior to that, she was Treasurer and Chief Investment Officer of the World Bank, where she was responsible for the investment of the World Bank’s assets, and external assets from the IMF, central banks and sovereign funds borrowings and ratings. Ms. Beschloss has advised central banks, finance ministries, sovereign funds, private financial institutions and regulatory agencies. Ms. Beschloss founded the World Bank’s Natural Gas Group, which invested in gas and power projects that aimed to replace coal in emerging markets. She led the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Group, where she was responsible for energy policy and investing in oil, gas, renewable energy and power projects that reduced carbon emissions. Additionally, she advised Eastern European governments on energy sector privatisation.
She is currently a Director of the Institute for Advanced Study, the Public Broadcasting Service of the United States (PBS), the American Red Cross, the Urban Institute and the World Resources Institute, a global research organisation dedicated to ensuring the sustainability of natural resources, where she is Chair of the Global Advisory Council. She is a past Trustee of the Ford Foundation, where she chaired the Investment Committee.
Commenting, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Founding Director of the World Wide Web Foundation said:
“A vibrant, open Web has never been more important to ensure a fair, just and thriving world. Afsaneh’s global leadership experience tackling both development issues and business challenges make her perfectly placed to lead the Foundation through our next phase.
“I would also like to pay tribute to our outgoing Chair, Rick Haythornthwaite. He has led the Board during a period of sustained growth, strategic development and increased impact. Rick leaves the Foundation well-positioned to take on the challenges and opportunities it faces in the years ahead, at a time when the right to access and use the Web freely is becoming ever more important.”