Private Equity Exec Joins Grameen

Jan 30 2007 | 9:10am ET

Former private equity executive Diane Smith has joined the Grameen Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting worldwide microfinance activities founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner and Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunis.

Smith—who helped set up U.K.-based Electra Investment Trust’s new U.S. private equity portfolio and spearheaded its efforts in South America—was named director of Grameen’s capital markets group. She will lead its efforts to source new financing opportunities for poverty-focused microfinance institutions.

“We are excited to have Diane join us and lead our team in its work to unlock vast reserves of capital for the benefit of poverty-focused microfinance institutions and their clients,” Alex Counts, Grameen Foundation co-founder and president, said. “The demand for large amounts of capital in local currency is growing amongst leading microfinance institutions, and making it available to them will catalyze growth, innovation and new thinking about leveraging microfinance as a platform for social change.”

In addition to her time with Electra, Smith most recently served as a consultant to early-stage entrepreneurs seeking growth capital.

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