Leah Gutierrez Begins as ADB's Pacific Director General

News Release | 6 March 2020

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (6 March 2020) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has a new Director General for its Pacific Department.

Leah Gutierrez assumed the position on March 2 and will lead the implementation of the forthcoming Pacific Approach 2020–2024, which will serve as ADB’s overall country partnership strategy for 12 of its 14 Pacific developing members: Cook Islands, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. She will also lead the implementation of ADB’s individual country partnership strategies for Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

“With ADB’s Strategy 2030 as a guide, ADB will use knowledge, innovation, and collaboration to help ADB’s Pacific developing members achieve their development goals,” said Ms. Gutierrez. “Good progress has been made but more needs to be done as 2020 and a new decade bring more challenges and opportunities to the region.”

ADB’s operations in the Pacific focus on improving transport; helping the region adjust to climate change and a renewable energy future; increasing access to information and communications technology; helping reduce the cost of doing business by modernizing business laws; boosting access to credit; and reforming state-owned enterprises. ADB is also focused on improving the region’s overall immunization coverage rates and supporting greater efficiency of primary health services in the Pacific.

Prior to Ms. Gutierrez’s appointment as Director General for the Pacific, she was the Deputy Director General for ADB’s Strategy, Policy, and Partnerships Department. In this role, she provided support to the operationalization of Strategy 2030—ADB’s long-term corporate strategy that sets out the institution’s broad vision and strategic response to the evolving needs of Asia and the Pacific. Ms. Gutierrez has also held senior roles in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department and the Office of the Secretary.

Before joining ADB in 2000, Ms. Gutierrez worked as an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University in the United States. She is a national of the Philippines, holds a doctorate and a master's degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor's degree in business economics from the University of the Philippines.

Ms. Gutierrez succeeds Carmela Locsin, who served as the Pacific Department’s Director General since 2017 and is now a Special Senior Advisor to the ADB President.

ADB’s Pacific portfolio is made up of 70 active projects valued at more than $2.8 billion.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.