Women's World Banking Appoints New CEO

Sep 2006
New York , September, 25 2006 - Women's World Banking (WWB), one of the leading microfinance networks worldwide, has named Mary Ellen Iskenderian as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. Ms. Iskenderian succeeds Nancy Barry, who led the organization for the past sixteen years -- a period during which the organization experienced tremendous growth. Ms. Iskenderian officially assumed the post on September 12, 2006.

Ms. Iskenderian, who has held numerous leadership positions at the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group (IFC), brings over twenty years of experience in building financial systems globally, in particular in Asia, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe. IFC is the private sector arm of the World Bank and the largest investor in emerging markets worldwide.

Ms. Iskenderian will lead WWB's efforts in developing and delivering a wide array of products and services that meet the needs of low-income women and their households through the WWB network of microfinance institutions and banks. Today, through its network of affiliates, associates and the Global Network for Banking Innovation, WWB serves close to 23 million clients around the world. Ms. Iskenderian will be instrumental in fostering WWB's growth and collaborating with network leaders, financial institutions and policy makers.

"We are eager for all of our partners, funders and friends to get to know Mary Ellen," said Mercedes Canalda, Chair of the Board of Trustees of WWB. "We are confident that she will be a wonderful and purposeful leader, as we work together to provide access to financial products and services for women entrepreneurs and their families."

Among Ms. Iskenderian's leadership positions at the IFC, she was Director of Global Financial Markets Portfolio and Director of the South Asia Regional Department, based in New Delhi. In her most recent post at IFC, Ms. Iskenderian was Director of Partnership Development, responsible for coordinating IFC's relationships with the global philanthropic community. In addition to her work with hundreds of microfinance institutions and other financial institutions at IFC, she has served on several boards of directors. She currently serves on the Board of Directors and Investment Committee of ShoreCap International, a leading equity and loan fund for microfinance.

Ms. Iskenderian's extensive background in emerging markets finance ideally positions her to lead WWB at this critical moment in the development of the microfinance industry. "I am excited about this unique opportunity to work with such a diverse and talented group of global leaders, many of whom are pioneers in the field of microfinance. My experience will complement the mission of this great organization and will keep WWB on the cutting edge of important industry trends such as capital markets development and commercial bank entry," said Iskenderian.

Ms. Iskenderian holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management, and a BS in International Economics from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

In the past 25 years, Women's World Banking has led the way in developing financial services for low-income people worldwide. Today, the expanded WWB network is comprised of over 50 microfinance institutions (MFIs) and banks which operate in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. Seventy percent of the WWB network members rank as the top three MFIs in their countries. WWB network leaders have built responsive and sustainable financial services for low-income women, supported by the WWB global team, headquartered in New York City. The WWB network has acted as a catalyst mobilizing major banks to do profitable and responsible microfinance and has built performance standards for the industry as a whole.


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