Palladium installs four executives to lead business worldwide

01 August 2023 3 min. read
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Global consulting firm Palladium has appointed not one, but four successors to its departing CEO Christopher Hirst. “Collective leadership is an integral part of the Palladium culture.”

After nearly 25 years of service, including five as Palladium’s Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Hirst has stepped down from his role.

Taking his place will be a core team of four Executive Officers – Bernadette Howlett, Sinéad Magill, Ricardo Michel, and Jose Maria Ortiz. All four will collectively lead Palladium’s global business as equal partners.

Palladium installs four executives to lead business worldwide

Founded in 1965 in Australia, Palladium today is a global business with 75 offices across the globe. The consulting firm works with corporations, governments, investors, communities, and civil society on transformation and change linked to social impact.

According to its latest ESG report, Palladium’s work in 2022 impacted the lives of 76 million people across the globe, mobilised $2.8 billion in impact capital, protected or restored more than 2 million hectares of land, and delivered more than 21 million relief and medical items to communities hit by disaster and conflict. Earlier this year, the firm won a Global Impact Award for its Support to Ukrainian refugees displaced by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“Chris has led the business through a period of remarkable growth,” said Kim Bredhauer, Palladium’s Executive Chairman (and the firm’s former CEO). “While we’re sorry to see Chris go, I’m excited for this new generation of global leaders to take Palladium into the future. Our Executive Officers reflect the scale, breadth and diversity of our business and the talent within Palladium.”

Bernadette Howlett is a professional with more than 30 years of experience across a range of strategy and transformation large scale programs. She specialises in organic and inorganic growth, new business models, and transformation. Howlett previously was a consulting partner at PwC and Strategy&, and is based in Sydney.

Sinead Magill leads Palladium’s UK and Europe business, based out of London. She has 20 years of experience leading positive impact programs, with projects spanning humanitarian response, governance reform, post conflict stabilisation, economic growth and social inclusion.

Jose Maria Ortiz has 25 years of experience helping government and private sector organisations transform the societies where they operate, most recently in Europe, Africa, and India. Based in London, he is head of Palladium’s Impact Investing and Natural Capital businesses. Ortiz began his career at PwC.

Ricardo Michel has more than 25 years of leadership experience in both the private and public sectors. Prior to joining Palladium, he served FHI Partners and international development consulting firm AMEX International. He was a presidential appointee in the Obama Administration to the USAID, where he was responsible for public-private partnerships and played a catalytic role in the launch of the US Global Development Lab. Michel is based in the US.

Commenting on his successors, Hirst said: “Our new Executive Officers are some of the strongest and most capable leaders in the industry – I’m confident our company is in good hands.”

2025 and beyond

Palladium’s Executive Officers have set ambitious goals in their strategy up to 2025, including impacting the lives of 150 million people globally. The organisation’s mission and vision remain the same.

“Who we are and our goals for 2025 and beyond are unchanged,” says Michel on behalf of his co-Executives. “We’re a development company and a global leader in positive impact. We’re staying focused on serving our clients while finding new ways to grow our business and our impact in emerging spaces.”