NEW YORK—The Open Society Foundations today announced Sean Hinton as the director of the new Economic Advancement Program and chief executive officer of the Soros Economic Development Fund. From September 2015, Hinton will lead the Foundations’ economic advancement agenda, which aims to encourage sound economic policies and wise financial investment that drive shared, equitable growth. Hinton will start in Open Society’s New York office and will be based in the London office from the second quarter of 2016.
“Sean Hinton’s leadership will help my foundations create opportunities for people and businesses where the need for socially sound investment is greatest,” said George Soros, founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundations. “The countries we work in need not only aid but also investment.”
Hinton joins Open Society from Terbish Partners, a strategic and investment advisory firm that he founded in 2007. His focus has been on the energy and minerals sector in China, Mongolia, and Africa. Hinton has 26 years of experience in Asia, particularly in Mongolia, where he has been deeply involved in economic development, working with the government, local communities, and global and national companies. He has been a longterm senior advisor to Goldman Sachs Asia and the Rio Tinto group, and was formerly a consultant with McKinsey & Company.
Chris Stone, president of the Open Society Foundations, said: “Sean will lead an all-sectors strategy for economic advancement, working with government, business, and civil society worldwide. The Economic Advancement Program will have the widest array of tools at its disposal, giving Sean the ability to make equity and debt investments alongside more traditional grants, the ability to sponsor research, advise governments, and advocate for sensible economic policies.
“With his deep experience in Asia and Africa, and his belief that the best strategies are grounded in local context, Sean is just the person we need to lead this new effort within the Open Society Foundations.”
“The Open Society Foundations work to create sustainable improvements in the social and material wellbeing of communities around the world. Economic advancement is a key part of this vibrant mission and can create conditions for people to become protagonists of their own development, thereby building flourishing and prosperous open societies. I look forward to taking part in such meaningful work,” said Hinton.
At the helm of the Economic Advancement Program, Hinton will lead Open Society’s advocacy and grant-making efforts to build the economic foundations for open society. He will fully integrate the Soros Economic Development Fund with the Open Society Foundations, further aligning the Fund’s social-impact investing with Open Society thematic and geographic priorities.
“Sean Hinton is a creative thinker who has shown an ability to work across many disciplines. He will be able to draw from his broad experience to bring innovative approaches to our work. We are excited to engage a person of such unusual talents to lead the Soros Economic Development Fund,” said Michel Zaleski, chair of the board of the Soros Economic Development Fund.
“The search was extensive with dozens of candidates with great experience from all over the world. Sean Hinton emerged as the strongest candidate for the Open Society Foundations. He will take the work to another level,” said Maria Cattaui, head of the search committee and a member of the boards of both the Soros Economic Development Fund and the Open Society Foundations.
Established in 1997, the Soros Economic Development Fund invests in businesses that provide employment, products, and services for underserved populations in countries open to the development of their economic, political, legal, and civic institutions. Organized as a nonprofit, private foundation, SEDF has approximately $130 million in capital committed to program related investments and another $200 million available for future investments.
The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to criticism, whose laws and policies are open to debate and correction, and whose political institutions are open to the participation of all people. Working with local communities in more than 100 countries, the Open Society Foundations seek to strengthen justice and the rule of law; broaden respect for human rights, including the rights of minorities; encourage pluralism and a robust diversity of opinion; deepen democratic practice; expand economic equity; support good governance; and invest in individuals and organizations that advance these goals in both the public and private sectors.