View the page for current CEO and Chairperson Carlos Manuel Rodriguez >>


Naoko Ishii | 2012-2020

Naoko Ishii portrait

Naoko Ishii, elected as CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility in 2012, led the development and implementation of the GEF’s first long-term strategy. In so doing, she helped the GEF address the underlying drivers of environmental degradation and catalyze systems transformation in energy, cities, and food systems while protecting critical ecosystems. Ishii also promoted integrated approaches to tackling environmental challenges and led the GEF to create and participate in multi-stakeholder platforms. She successfully concluded two international replenishment negotiations, both of which mobilized more than $4 billion dollars for the GEF.

Before joining the GEF, Ishii was Japan’s Deputy Vice Minister of Finance and represented the Japanese Government during the design of the Green Climate Fund. She worked as a Country Director for the World Bank and held positions at the IMF and Harvard Institute for International Development.

Ishii is on the board of the World Economic Forum’s Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE), and Co-chair of the Advisory Network of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. She is a Special Advisor to the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), an Ambassador to the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU), a Food System Economics Commissioner, a Commissioner for the Global Adaptation Commission, a Member of the Leadership Council of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDN), and a Member of the Advisory Committee of Future Earth. She also serves on the Global Advisory Board of the University of Tokyo.

Ishii has published numerous papers and several books, two of which were awarded the Suntory Prize (1990) and Okita Memorial Prize for International Development Research (2004). She is the inaugural recipient of the 2006 Enjoji Jiro Memorial Prize. Naoko holds a B.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo.

Monique Barbut | 2006-2012

Monique Barbut portrait

Monique Barbut, a French national, was appointed CEO and Chairperson by a unanimous decision of the GEF Council on June 2006 and completed her second mandate on July 31, 2012.

During her tenure and following its fourth replenishment at a level of $3.13 billion, she undertook a revitalization of the GEF to make it a more effective, responsive, and results-based institution.

In November 2008, Ms. Barbut was reappointed by the GEF Council for another three-year term.

Prior to joining the GEF, Ms. Barbut served as Director of the Division of Technology, Industry and Economics of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) from September 2003 to July 2006, While there, she undertook a reorganization of the division and established a pragmatic approach to ensuring the link between environment and economics, and setting up development policies and pilot projects, including in developing countries or countries experiencing critical backgrounds (China and Iraq).

Between 1981 and 2003, Ms. Barbut had a long career in different positions at the Agence Française de Développement Group (AFD), the main French public institution for aid in development. During that period, Barbut held different positions related to the French aid system, particularly project financing activities in the French overseas territories, and activities relating to ex-post evaluation. Throughout the 1990s, she became increasingly involved with the issue of financing sustainable development, for the French government and in the international scene in general. In 2003, she was appointed as Executive Director for all Caribbean, Pacific, and Indian Ocean activities. As a member of the French government delegation to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, Ms. Barbut was a key player in the financing negotiations, and later an active negotiator in the creation of the GEF as well as the French Global Environment Facility (FGEF), to which she was appointed first Chief Executive Officer.

Leonard Good | 2003-2006

Leonard Good portrait

Mr. Leonard Good served as CEO and Chairperson of the GEF from 2003 to 2006. Mr. Good, a Canadian and former President of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), took over the GEF leadership position on July 14, 2003 for a three-year term.

Mr. Good worked for many years in areas of relevance to the GEF. He served twice as Canada's Deputy Minister of Environment, from 1989-1993, and again from 1998-1999, supporting the development and implementation of "The Green Plan," Canada's first comprehensive environmental strategy. Mr. Good served as Canada's Executive Director on the Board of the World Bank from 1994-1998. In that role, he represented Canada, Ireland, and a number of Commonwealth Caribbean countries.

Mr. Good also spent eight years (1979-1987) in various positions in Canada's Department of Energy.

Mohamed El-Ashry | 1994-2003

Mohamed El-Ashry portrait

Dr. El-Ashry served as CEO and Chairperson of the GEF, which he helped to establish, from 1994 to 2003. He also served as Chairman of the GEF during its Pilot Phase (1991-1994). Prior to joining the GEF he served as Chief Environmental Adviser to the President and Director of the Environment Department at the World Bank, as Senior Vice President of the World Resources Institute (WRI), and as Director of Environmental Quality with the Tennessee Valley Authority.

He held teaching and research positions at Cairo University, Pan-American-U.A.R. Oil Company, Wilkes University, and the Environmental Defense Fund. He also served as Senior Environmental Adviser to UNDP, as Special Adviser to the Secretary General of the 1992 UN Earth Summit, and as a member of a number of International Commissions and Task Forces including the UN Secretary General's High-Level Panel on System-wide Coherence, the International Commission on Climate Change and Development, and the World Water Commission. He is also the Chairman of the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21).

Dr. El-Ashry received his Bachelor of Science degree with honors in 1959 from the University of Cairo and Master of Science (1963) and Ph.D. (1966) degrees in Geology from the University of Illinois. He is the editor and co-author of three books and has published or presented more than 250 papers. Dr. El-Ashry is Senior Fellow with the UN Foundation and Facilitator of the Global Leadership for Climate Action (GLCA) which he organized in 2007. Its membership includes 13 former Presidents and Prime Ministers and 12 other global leaders.

Dr. El-Ashry is also a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a member of the Third World and African Academies of Sciences and is listed in American Men and Women of Science and Men of Achievement. He has received a number of international honors and awards including the Champions of the Earth and the Haub Prize for International Environmental Diplomacy. He serves on the Boards of a number of not-for-profit organizations including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Resources for the Future.