Susanna Mudge, President and CEO, Chairperson
Since joining the firm in 1992, Susanna Mudge has served the company in many key leadership roles, including as executive vice president, senior vice president of the Latin America and Caribbean region, and as director of several of the company’s larger programs. She brings in-depth global expertise in strategic private sector development, organizational development, trade and investment promotion, and sustainable natural resource management. She views quality project management as “inextricably linked to business success because that is what differentiates us and makes us competitive.” Raised in Latin America, she began her career as a regional development and tourism specialist for the Organization of American States, then as a privatization specialist with Ernst and Young, responsible for managing marketing and investment projects in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Ronald J. Gilbert, Vice-Chair
Ronald Gilbert is cofounder and president of ESOP Services, Inc., an international consulting firm specializing in all aspects of Employee Stock Ownership Plan (“ESOP”) applications and ESOP privatization for private and public companies and government-owned entities. He brings more than 35 years of ESOP experience and currently serves on The ESOP Association’s Board of Governors and its Legislative and Regulatory Advisory Committee as well as the board of directors of three other ESOP companies. He currently chairs the Audit Committee and the International Ownership Expansion Committee and formerly served on the board of directors of The National Center for Employee Ownership. He is co-author and co-editor of Employee Stock Ownership Plans: ESOP Planning, Financing, Implementation, Law and Taxation, the most comprehensive work on the subject, published by the Beyster Institute, and has also authored numerous ESOP articles. Prior to cofounding ESOP Services, Inc., Mr. Gilbert was a vice president of Kelso & Company in San Francisco, where he worked with Louis Kelso, the “father” of the ESOP.
Bisrat Aklilu, Board Member
Bisrat Aklilu is a senior advisor for sustainable development, program evaluation, and fund management. He advises national governments and multilateral organizations including the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and Syria Recovery Trust Fund (SRTF). Mr. Aklilu has also worked with the UN for over 25 years, including as the Deputy Executive Director and Director of Operations at the UN Office of Project Services (UNOPS), and more recently as the Executive Coordinator of the Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) Office located in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Mr. Aklilu established and managed the MPTF Office, which when he left the UN in 2013, had a portfolio of over 100 trust funds valued at over $6 billion and is the first UN Office to introduce full public transparency through real-time financial data and narrative reporting. Mr. Aklilu holds a Ph.D. Economics and M.A. in Economics from Boston University, where he was also an assistant professor, and a M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Massachusetts.
James W. Butcher, Executive Vice President
Since joining Chemonics in 1998, Mr. Butcher has served in many roles and regions. He has led and participated in a number of new business initiatives for both the former Global Division and the Europe and Eurasia region. As a private sector development specialist, Mr. Butcher has conducted technical assignments on projects from Guyana to Sri Lanka to Morocco. He served as chief of party of the Armenia Micro Enterprise Development Initiative (MEDI). Most recently he has served as SVP of the East Africa region. Previously he served as SVP of the Europe and Eurasia region.
Phyllis Caldwell, Board Member
Phyllis Caldwell is an independent financial services professional and owner of Wroxton Civic Ventures, LLC. Ms. Caldwell has more than 25 years of experience in banking, finance, and housing, with previous roles with the U.S. Department of Treasury, Bank of America, and Ernst & Young. In addition to Chemonics, Ms. Caldwell also serves on the board of the City First Bank of D.C. and Microvest, an asset manager and impact investor that invests in banks and small businesses in frontier and emerging markets. From 2013-2019, Ms. Caldwell was a member of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) Board of Trustees, serving as Finance and Audit Committee chair and board vice chair. Ms. Caldwell received her M.B.A. from the Robert H Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, where she is currently an Executive-in-Residence, and holds a B.A. in sociology and urban planning from the University of Maryland, College Park.
William Keller, Chief Financial Officer
William Keller is the Chief Financial Officer of Chemonics, and leads the company’s Finance and Accounting Division. Previously, he served as the director of the company’s finance and compliance review team. A certified public accountant, Mr. Keller has more than 12 years of experience in finance, accounting, compliance, and project operations. Since joining Chemonics in 2009 as a manager with the field accounting and compliance team, Mr. Keller has taken on numerous assignments, including helping to establish and serving as finance specialist with the Country Operations Optimization Platform (CO-OP) in Afghanistan and successfully serving as deputy chief of party of the Investment Climate Improvement Project in the West Bank. Mr. Keller holds a bachelor of arts degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Stephen J. Nikrant, Board Member
Steve Nikrant is an experienced supply chain and operations executive with a proven track record of driving change and delivering results. Mr. Nikrant is currently Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain at Leviton Manufacturing Company in Melville, New York. Mr. Nikrant joined Leviton in 2011 as Vice President, Supply Chain, responsible for global sourcing, inventory management, logistics, distribution, customer service, packaging design, and e-commerce. Prior to Leviton, Mr. Nikrant worked at Eaton Corporation as Vice President, Supply Chain at the Hydraulics Business Group in Eden Prairie, MN. He also spent more than half his career at the General Electric Company. Throughout his career, he has held multiple supply chain leadership and operating roles including serving as director of commodity management, multi-site plant manager, and an ex-patriot assignment in Shanghai, China leading the GE Lighting finished product global sourcing operation. He has a B.S.B.A. with a concentration in procurement materials and operations management from Bowling Green State University and an MBA from Baldwin Wallace College. He previously participated on the supply chain advisory council at Bowling Green State University. He is currently on the school of management advisory council at the University of Iowa, School of Management.
Lizann Prosser, Board Member
Lizann Prosser is a seasoned and proven leader with more than 20 years of experience in international development. As the past president and CEO of Crown Agents-USA, she has managed all aspects of development consulting and has worked in more than 50 countries. Ms. Prosser entered development consulting following careers in environmental management and investment banking and has extensive experience managing complex projects in challenging situations. She holds advanced degrees in both public health and management, as well as a bachelor’s in engineering.
Eric J. Reading, Executive Vice President
Since Executive Vice President Eric Reading joined Chemonics in 1994, he has served in leadership roles in the both the field and the home office. As senior vice president he significantly expanded Chemonics work in the Middle East region and subsequently led the Afghanistan and Pakistan region. Prior to joining the executive team, he worked in Kosovo and Egypt as chief of party and technical advisor for institutional strengthening programs. Mr. Reading’s development technical experience crosses a range of sectors, including governance, infrastructure, economic development, financial services, and agriculture and he has significant experience in post-conflict recovery. In addition to overseeing the implementation of Chemonics development and transition work globally, he leads our internal systems strengthening. Mr. Reading holds an M.A. from Florida State University and is a PhD candidate in Governance and Globalization at Virginia Tech.