9th May 2023, London – Patrick Alley and Simon Taylor, two of Global Witness’s founders, will be standing down from their roles as Executive Directors by the end of 2023, the organisation is announcing today.

Their decision to step back from the day to day running of the organisation follows a similar move last year by Charmian Gooch who, along with Patrick and Simon, founded Global Witness in 1993. All three founders will remain on the Global Witness board, giving strategic guidance to the organisation alongside other board members.

In co-founding Global Witness, Patrick, Simon and Charmian forged a new campaigning approach focusing on the connections between natural resource exploitation, conflict and corruption and the linkage between human rights and environmental abuses, which have been integral to the organisation’s growth and success.

More recently, they have worked with staff to assist and advise on landing the greatest possible campaigning impact, and helping to shape the overall vision, as well as representing Global Witness externally. Their tireless campaigning has gained international recognition, notably a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, the Gleitsman International Activist Award, the Skoll Award, and the TED Prize.

It was a “founders challenge” put forward in 2015 that called on Global Witness to more directly tackle the climate crisis, after decades of holding polluting industries to account for their corrupt behaviour. This vision has shaped so much of the work Global Witness now places front and centre: tackling the power of the fossil fuel industry, working to keep climate-critical forests standing tall and defending those on the frontline of the climate crisis.

Patrick Alley, Global Witness Co-Founder said:

“Global Witness hasn’t been a job, it’s been my life, and I feel so amazingly privileged to have worked with so many people right across the organisation for the past thirty years, and to know that we and our colleagues in other organisations around the world have achieved some amazing impacts, although they can never be big enough.”

“The world has changed so much over the past thirty years – some good, some bad – but I think that everything Global Witness has done has been the ideal preparation to help us tackle the immense challenges the world is facing now.”

“I have so much faith in the organisation’s ability to continue to tackle the great evils of our time: the destruction of our forests, closing democratic space, the violence against land and environmental defenders, resource-funded wars, and the mother of them all – the climate crisis. As a board member I look forward to supporting our staff and our vision in any way I can.”

Simon Taylor, Global Witness Co-Founder said:

“For me, like Patrick, Global Witness has never been a job – more a way of being. We have constantly evolved to take on some of the worst humanity has to offer: corrupt and violent despots, murdering and polluting companies and the army of facilitators who make a quick buck off the back of others’ suffering and the despoliation of the environment.” 

“Our vision and struggle to hold these actors to account could never have been so successful without our brilliant co-conspirators over the years – our colleagues and those we have collaborated with beyond Global Witness. To all of you, too many to mention here, I cannot overstate my gratitude for all that you have done and continue to bring to this fight.”

“Whether we like it or not, we are all now trapped in a struggle to end the climate and biodiversity crises, whose combined consequences pose the greatest of threats to humanity’s very existence – failure is simply not tenable. Building on its campaign successes and skills, Global Witness is now ramping up to this challenge.” 

“For my part, I will use all the experience I have gained over the past two plus decades holding oil, gas and mining companies’ feet to the fire to help in this task from the board. But I am far from done with this work, and so separately, I will continue my focus on this sector going forward.”

Mike Davis, Global Witness CEO, said:

“The impact that Global Witness has today is a product of the tenacity, skill and dedication of its founders. Throughout the past three decades they have provided visionary leadership to ensure Global Witness is always shaping the response to some of the biggest challenges the world faces. Today, as we tackle the existential threat of climate emergency, we do so in the confidence that Patrick and Simon, along with Charmian, have forged an organisation that is relevant, courageous and delivers lasting change.”

Juana Kweitel, Chair of the Global Witness Board, said:

“Today is a moment to celebrate the enormous contribution Patrick and Simon, together with Charmian, have made to Global Witness, not just in its creation but through almost three decades of hands-on campaigning and strategic direction. I am delighted that their experience and expertise will continue to complement that of the outstanding leaders we are honoured to have as our board members.”