After nearly 25 years of dedicated service, including five as Palladium’s Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Hirst is stepping down from his current role. Taking his place will be a core team of four Executive Officers – Bernadette Howlett, Sinéad Magill, Ricardo Michel, and Jose Maria Ortiz. This group will collectively lead Palladium’s global business as equal partners.
“Collective leadership is already part of the Palladium culture and an emerging trend in businesses like ours,” says Hirst. “Our new Executive Officers are some of the strongest and most capable leaders in the industry – I’m confident our company is in good hands.”
He explains that the Executive Officers have been driving Palladium’s global business for many years and are familiar faces for both staff and clients. “At the leadership level, they’re as close as can be to our clients, partners, and the communities we serve. Together, they bring the right combination of skills, experience, and vision to lead us into the future.”
A Legacy of Impact
With operations in over 90 countries, Palladium’s work in 2022 alone impacted the lives of 76 million people across the globe, mobilised US$2.8 billion in impact capital, protected or restored more than 2 million hectares of land, and delivered more than 21 million relief and medical items to communities hit by disaster and conflict.
The scale of this impact is due in large part to Hirst’s leadership and experience both within Palladium and the sector overall.
“Chris has been integral to the extensive impact Palladium has had around the world,” says Kim Bredhauer, Palladium’s Executive Chairman. “He was my successor when I stepped down as CEO in 2018 and has led the business through a period of remarkable growth.”
“While we’re sorry to see Chris go, I’m excited for this new generation of global leaders to take Palladium into the future. Our Executive Officers reflect the scale, breadth and diversity of our business and the talent within Palladium.”
Global Leadership for a Global Business
According to Sinéad Magill, Palladium Executive Officer based in London, UK speaking on behalf of her co-Executives, Palladium built its business as a trusted partner. "Our new leadership structure is an extension of that same company culture,” she says. “We have many years of first-hand experience with similar partnership structures at the regional level and know that when well executed, they break down silos, increase diversity of thought, and improve decision-making.”
“This is an emerging trend in executive leadership, and we’re excited to apply our experience globally.”
2025 and Beyond
Palladium’s Executive Officers will be focused on a set of ambitious goals for 2025, including impacting the lives of 150 million people globally. The organisation’s mission and vision remain the same.
“Who we are, our Company Strategy, and our goals for 2025 and beyond are unchanged,” explains Ricardo Michel, Executive Officer based in Washington DC, USA. “We’re a development company and a global leader in positive impact. We’re staying focused on serving our clients while finding new ways to grow our business and our impact in emerging spaces.”
For Hirst, who’s seen the organisation iterate, grow, and succeed over the years, the shift is a natural next step. “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve built,” he says. “I can’t wait to watch Palladium continue to change the world.”
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