CDC rebrands under new strategy, names Google exec first female chief

 CDC rebrands under new strategy, names Google exec first female chief

Diana Layfield, chairperson-designate, CDC Group Plc

CDC Group Plc, the UK government’s development finance institution, said Thursday it is rebranding as British International Investment as it kicks off a refreshed strategy for the five-year period ending in 2026.

CDC will formally become British International Investment plc on April 4, 2022. It said it will scale in Africa and will pivot to Asia and, in particular, Southeast Asia to provide green finance as part of the new investment strategy.

The firm is already one of the most active investors in emerging markets across Asia and Africa, both via direct deals and commitment to third-party managed private equity and venture capital funds.

“We will invest across a range of vital sectors that meet global opportunities and address challenges, including the need for jobs and the twin crises of climate change and natural resource depletion,” CDC said.

It will step up to operate at scale by investing £1.5-2 billion per year with an increased focus on climate finance, including in green infrastructure.

The strategy would set a target for 30% of new commitments over five years to be in climate finance, positioning CDC as the UK’s principal provider of such finance to emerging and developing economies.

It will also look at new investments in digital transformation, from large-scale digital infrastructure to early-stage venture capital.

In addition, in the new avatar, CDC will also target for 25% of annual new commitments in gender finance.

CDC said its expanded geographical remit includes the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean. “We will start providing climate finance in the Indo-Pacific region, specifically in the larger economies of the Philippines, Indonesia and the Mekong region, with a particular emphasis on green, renewable infrastructure. We will look to invest in opportunities across the Caribbean, as they arise.”

New chairperson

In a parallel development, CDC has appointed Diana Layfield as its new chairperson. She will succeed Graham Wrigley, who was appointed in 2013 and will step down in early 2022 after a transitional period.

She will be CDC’s first female chairperson in its 73-year history. Her appointment also means that CDC’s board now has more than 50% female representation.

Layfield is currently president of EMEA partnerships at Google and a non-executive director at AstraZeneca. She was formerly the CEO of Standard Chartered, Africa region.

In addition to her business career, she has also worked as a medical relief pilot in war zones in Africa, working with the UN and Red Cross. She is also currently a Council Member at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Vivek Sinha

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