BOSTON, Mass., September 10, 2009 – Accion, a pioneer and global leader in microfinance, today announced that it has named Michael Schlein as its new President and CEO. Schlein, President of International Franchise Management at Citigroup, will succeed María Otero, who was recently appointed U.S. Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs.
Mr. Schlein brings 25 years of extensive international banking, management and public service experience to Accion, whose mission is to help alleviate global poverty by providing „micro‟ loans, financial services and business training to the world‟s entrepreneurial poor. Accion currently works with partner microfinance institutions in 23 countries, and last year helped reach over 3.7 million poor clients with small working-capital loans, savings accounts and other financial products.
As President of Citigroup‟s International Franchise Management unit, Mr. Schlein helped manage the bank‟s network of 100 Chief Country Officers, who were responsible for performance, regulatory relations, governance and reputational risk in their respective countries. In previous roles, Mr. Schlein oversaw Citi’s Human Resources and Global Corporate Affairs. A member of Citigroup’s Operating Committee, he also served as Executive Director of Citi‟s Business Practices Committee, and as a Director of Citibank, N.A., Poland‟s Bank Handlowy and Citibank Korea, Inc.
Prior to his senior posts at Citi, Mr. Schlein served as Chief of Staff at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as Chief of Staff for the New York City Deputy Mayor for Finance and Economic Development. He began his career in public finance investment banking at Smith Barney.
Mr. Schlein has been involved with microfinance for years through both Citi and Accion. He has played a leadership role at the Citi Foundation, which has a long history of funding microfinance initiatives, and he has served on the Board, and more recently the Executive Committee, of Accion. Mr. Schlein also sits on the boards of nonprofit organizations Wildcat Service Corporation and New York Cares. He is a corporate member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the Business Council of the Asia Society.
Mr. Schlein holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1984.
“Accion is enormously fortunate to have Michael take the helm,” said Diana Taylor, Accion Board Chair. “Not only does he bring the depth and breadth of financial and management expertise that will be instrumental in our global expansion, but he already has an extensive knowledge of the organization.”
“I am honored to be joining Accion as President and CEO at this exciting time,” Mr. Schlein said. “Accion has long been a leader and an innovator in the global effort to alleviate poverty through microfinance, with many ‘firsts’ to its name. I‟m very proud to have the opportunity to help build on that tradition, as Accion continues to reach beyond its roots in Latin America even further, to help the world’s poor in Africa, India and China. There is a greater opportunity today to combat global poverty than ever before, and I look forward to helping Accion continue and expand its leadership in that crucial effort.”
“It‟s been a privilege to serve on the search committee, and we extend our deep thanks to the recruitment firm for their exhaustive work,” said Catherine Quense, acting Accion president and CEO, who will remain on the organization‟s senior management team once Mr. Schlein begins. “Spencer Stuart ran a global search and reached over 150 candidates, from which Michael was selected among extremely strong finalists,” she added.
Accion is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission of giving people the financial tools they need – microenterprise loans, business training and other financial services – to work their way out of poverty. A world pioneer in microfinance, Accion was founded in 1961 and issued its first microloan in 1973 in Brazil. Accion’s partner microfinance institutions today are providing loans as low as $50 to poor men and women entrepreneurs in 23 countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the United States. In the last decade alone, ACCION partners have disbursed more than 28.5 million loans totaling $23.4 billion; 97 percent of the loans have been repaid.
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Bruce J. MacDonald
Tel. +1 617-616-1546