CDC hires chief operating officer

The UK government-backed fund of funds has taken on ex-Unilever executive Shonaid Jemmett-Page in the new role.

CDC Group has appointed Shonaid Jemmett-Page as its first chief operating officer.

Jemmett-Page joins from Unilever where she held the role of senior vice president of finance and information. Before Unilever, she spent 20 years at KPMG, where set up the firm’s sustainability unit.

“Shonaid’s business experience in emerging markets combined with her deep financial, general management and socially responsible investment experience means she will add real value to CDC and be a great asset to us,” commented CDC chief executive Richard Laing.

A spokesman for CDC said the recruitment process had been ongoing for some time and that creation of the role reflected CDC’s desire to obtain the best operational capacity possible in view of its increased size.

Last December, a report from the UK’s National Audit Office described CDC’s standards of corporate governance as being “consistent with good practice” in the private sector, but highlighted “lapses in oversight and governance of executive remuneration since 2004”.

Following the report and criticism from the chairman of UK government’s spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee, CDC undertook to review the framework for executive remuneration.

CDC’s spokesman added a part of Jemmett-Page’s time would be devoted to a “developmental remit” focusing on the developmental effect CDC has through its investments.

In November 2008, the UK government revised CDC’s investment targets, channelling money away from richer developing nations like China and Latin American countries and towards poorer regions like Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The new guidelines require at least half of the fund of funds’ investments to be directed to Sub-Saharan Africa and 75 percent to go to countries with per capita GNI of $905 or less.