Global Witness’s Executive Director and co-Founder, Charmian Gooch, will step down from her roles at the organisation next year, following 30 years of leadership and campaigning. Charmian, who led the NGO’s early work on blood diamonds and was awarded the TED prize in 2014 for her campaigning to end anonymously owned companies, will continue working with the organisation until 8 April as an Executive Director and as a Board Member until December 2022. She will then be moving on to focus on new priorities.
Commenting on her decision, Charmian, said:
“Setting up Global Witness three decades ago, and seeing it grow from a small, tenacious campaigning group to the global force it is today has been one of the privileges of my life. I will always remember the crazy early days when Patrick [Alley], Simon [Taylor] and I shook buckets outside tube stations, calling in any favour we could to fund our first undercover investigation to expose the cross-border timber trade between Cambodia and Thailand financing the brutal Khmer Rouge. In the years since, I have met and worked with the most talented, inspiring and brave activists from across the globe. I am grateful to all of them for their courageous efforts to make the world a safer, more just and more transparent place.
“Global Witness has gone onto to achieve more than Patrick, Simon and I could ever have dreamed of when we first conceived of it in the pubs of Clerkenwell in London. The world is a better place because of the corruption it has exposed, the devastation to the planet and human rights it has laid bare and the changes to law and international norms it has brought in. From uncovering the diamond trade funding conflict to helping amplify GW’s work to stop misuse of anonymously owned companies, I have been privileged to establish and lead exciting and important campaigns, alongside so many brilliant colleagues.
“Now the organisation is turning its immense talents to the biggest crisis the world faces – the climate emergency and its impact on people and our planet. Global Witness is a hard place to leave: It has been a major part of my life and I look forward to supporting it in whatever way I can and will be cheering on its efforts in the years ahead.”
In response to the news, Chair of the Global Witness Board, Juana Kweitel, said:
“Charmian has achieved so much for Global Witness. We will always be grateful for the energy, skill, insight, knowledge and perception she brought to the organisation’s campaigning, fundraising and governance. She has built the organisation into a formidable force, whilst also showing immense personal courage in facing down powerful companies and politicians.
“In my time on the Global Witness Board and now as Chair, Charmian has been a strong support and guide, for which I am very thankful. I respect her as a hugely effective campaigner and admire her as a friend and colleague.
“There is no doubt Global Witness would not be the organisation it is today – making waves across the world and holding corporates and Governments to account – without Charmian’s brilliant and brave leadership.”
Co-Founders Patrick Alley and Simon Taylor said:
“For us this is really a very emotional moment and we will have much more to say about Charmian and the immense contribution she has made to both the establishment of Global Witness and the success of our campaigns as we approach her departure in 2022. For now though, we would just like to pay enormous tribute to her as a best friend, co-conspirator, and nemesis of corrupt, greedy and mendacious corporate and political leaders alike.
“Global Witness won’t be the same without her, but her commitment to fighting for change against all the odds will always be part of our DNA.”