CDC hires Noble as new chief

Financial development institution CDC Group has appointed Diana Noble as its chief executive, tasked with overseeing the group’s new investment strategy announced earlier this year.

CDC Group’s appointment of new chief executive Diana Noble will be effective on Monday, according to a spokesperson from the group. Noble replaces Rod Evison, the acting chief executive of CDC, who will return to his post as managing director of its Africa team. 

Evison temporarily filled the position following the departure of Richard Laing, who quit his position after 11 years in the job after a government review of the firm's operations. The review focused on criticisms surrounding how effective CDC had been at using taxpayer’s money to alleviate poverty. 

This sparked a change in the group’s strategy to provide more direct investments and debt-related products to the poorest regions in the world. The strategy change was announced earlier this year, and Noble will iron out its finer details in the coming months, according to a spokesperson from CDC. 

Noble has experience in developing countries; prior to joining CDC she was executive vice president at the Clinton Foundation Health Access Initiative, where she was responsible for teams supporting the governments’ provision of access to HIV/AIDS medication in 43 countries including much of sub-Saharan Africa. 

She also has significant private equity experience having worked at Schroder Ventures for 12 years before it was renamed Permira. Noble then went on to set up eVentures, an investment company supporting internet start-ups.

Commenting on her appointment, Diana Noble said: “I passionately believe in the power of long-term, intelligent investment to boost business, grow economies and change lives.”

The news comes only weeks after CDC announced a $50 million investment into private equity group Pragati Equity Advisors’ fund, which is focusing on the eight poorest states in India. The fund will make investments of between $5 million to $15 million in a wide range of sectors, although it is expected to lean towards healthcare, infrastructure, manufacturing and education, perceived as the sectors most in need of investment in the region.