Former D.E. Shaw Chief Risk Officer Peter Bernard to Join Impact Investing Pioneer Root Capital as Chief Operating Officer
Cambridge, Massachusetts, February 23, 2016 – Root Capital is pleased to announce Peter Bernard as the organization’s first chief operating officer (COO). Peter will join Root Capital on March 1, 2016 after decades of experience on Wall Street, most recently as the chief risk officer of D.E. Shaw & Company, a global investment and technology development firm with more than $39 billion in investment capital. As COO at Root Capital, Peter will oversee the organization’s lending, risk, advisory services, and talent functions.
“Peter has deep expertise in financial markets, global banking, risk management, and organizational development,” said Willy Foote, Root Capital founder and CEO. “He brings three decades of experience and accomplishment in the capital markets, along with a significant appreciation and respect for Root Capital, our clients, and the impact we seek. We’re thrilled to have him join the team.”
Previously, Peter was president, chief operating officer, and chief financial officer at AlphaSimplex Group, a Cambridge-based investment management firm. From 2000 to 2004, he was the chief financial officer at RiskMetrics Group, a New York-based company which specializes in risk management software and data. In 1994, he co-founded New Bond Trading, Inc., an investment management firm specializing in fixed-income arbitrage, and was president of the company until 2000. Prior to that, Peter was managing director of J.P. Morgan & Co., where his 15 years of service included running Latin America. For the last six years, he has served on the Root Capital board of directors, mostly recent as vice chair.
“I’m passionate about Root Capital, its mission, and the clients it has so successfully served for more than 15 years,” said incoming COO Peter Bernard. “I am excited to play a role in taking the organization’s performance, risk management, and impact to another level.”
Root Capital’s appointment of a COO is in conjunction with a new organizational design that seeks to optimize performance, lower risk, and improve client satisfaction. Another key change is the elevation of the following regional leaders to general managers. Once responsible for only lending performance, these new general managers are now accountable for the collective performance of lending, advisory services, and client services in their respective regions:
Daniel Rivera, general manager, South America — Daniel has led ACCDER, Root Capital’s partner organization in Peru, since it was founded in 2011. Previously, he spent four years covering South America as a contractor for Root Capital, worked as a financial manager at Rainforest Trading, and as a loan analyst for Peru’s Banco del Trabajo.
Diaka Sall, general manager, West Africa — Diaka has overseen Root Capital lending in West Africa since joining the organization in 2011. Previously, she worked at Citibank Senegal as a relationship manager and credit analyst. She has also consulted for the World Bank, African Development Bank, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
Fred Kiteng’e, general manager, East & Southern Africa — Fred has overseen Root Capital lending in East and Southern Africa since joining the organization in 2010. Previously, he worked at GroFin as a senior business development manager and at Standard Chartered Bank as a small and medium enterprise manager.
Jerónimo Bollen, general manager, Central America & Mexico — Since joining the organization in 2006, Jerónimo has led Root Capital’s lending operations in Latin America through a decade of massive growth. Previously, he led Manos Campesinas, a successful specialty coffee cooperative in Guatemala. Jerónimo began his career working in fair trade certification in Central America and Europe.
“Peter Bernard’s breadth of leadership and experience in the most sophisticated, complex areas of the financial services industry is an incredible resource for Root Capital’s lending and advisory services team around the globe,” said Root Capital Board Chair Jeremy Mindich. “Peter’s extraordinary commitment to Root Capital makes us better positioned than ever before to interface with global financial institutions and to deliver on our mission of generating economic opportunity for rural businesses and the farm families they serve.”
About Root Capital
Root Capital is an agricultural impact investor that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa, Asia, and Latin America by providing capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses. Since 1999, Root Capital has disbursed more than $900 million in credit to over 600 businesses, representing more than one million smallholder farmers. Root Capital’s clients produce dozens of different agricultural products, from coffee, cocoa, and cashews, to fresh fruits and vegetables, to wild-harvested products like natural gums and shea butter. For specific examples, visit www.rootcapital.org/portfolio.