Grameen Foundation Elects Robert Eichfeld to Chair Board of Directors


Three New Members Also Elected to Board

Washington, D.C., July 12, 2013 – Grameen Foundation today announced Robert Eichfeld as the new chair of its board of directors. He replaces Paul Maritz, who will remain on the board after serving as chair for six years.

The foundation also appointed three new board members: Ricki Tigert Helfer, Elisabeth Rhyne, and Pradeep Singh.

Eichfeld first joined Grameen Foundation’s board in 2002, serving as a director and later as vice-chairman of the board. He worked for more than three decades at Citibank, where he managed many of the bank's business, country and regional activities in Asia and the subcontinent, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East.  Since 2000 he has advised on banking and investments in various countries and regions both as a consultant and as a board member of a leading Middle East investment bank.

A strong champion of international development issues, Eichfeld served for several years on the board of the Pearl S. Buck Foundation, an organization dedicated to childhood welfare throughout Asia. He currently serves as Vice Chair of the board of Give To Colombia, an organization working to improve the lives of the poor in Colombia.  He is Chair of the Global Advisory Council at his alma mater, the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and is also a graduate of Wake Forest University and Harvard University’s Executive Program for Management Development.

”We want to thank Paul Maritz for his strong leadership over the past six years and look forward to working with this new board as we expand our work delivering the financial services and information on health and agriculture that will help poor people improve the lives,” said Alex Counts, President and CEO of Grameen Foundation. “Bob Eichfeld’s extensive experience working in the regions where Grameen Foundation operates gives him valuable insight and vision that will guide us and we are pleased to have him at the helm of our board.”

“In my work and volunteering, I have seen how poor people can transform their lives if given the opportunity and access to services and tools that are usually not easily available to them, said Robert Eichfeld. “We are committed to expanding this access, especially in rural communities, with the support of Ricki Tigert Helfer, Elisabeth Rhyne and Pradeep Singh who bring great knowledge in building financial inclusion and using mobile technology for development.”  

Ricki Tigert Helfer served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) from 1994 to 1997 and more recently has advised international organizations, such as the World Bank, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and nongovernmental organizations on regulatory issues relating to microfinance institutions. She previously served on Grameen Foundation’s Social Performance Advisory Committee and is currently on the board of Citizens Committee for Children of New York City. She has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of private and public companies in the fields of health care, technology, and international banking and finance, and was also a member of the Board of Directors of Girl Scouts of the USA for five years.

Elisabeth Rhyne is Managing Director of the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, a research and action center that focuses on challenges confronting the microfinance and financial inclusion sectors. She served as Director of the Office of Microenterprise Development at USAID from 1994 to 1998 and has also consulted on microfinance policy and operations for governments, international organizations, microfinance institutions, and private sector development programs. She has authored and edited several articles and books on microfinance. 

Pradeep Singh is the Executive Chairman of Aditi Technologies, a global IT services company; Aditi Staffing, an IT staffing company; and Co-Chairman of Pengala, an Indian-based company that provides after-school learning technology. A technology veteran and serial entrepreneur, he founded Aditi Technologies in 1994 and Pengala in 2010. Between 1999 and 2003, he founded and ran Talisma, one of India’s first venture funded customer relationship management software product companies. Prior to founding Aditi, he held several management positions at Microsoft. He has been recognized as a technology pioneer by the World Economic Forum and as a distinguished alumni by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi.

About Grameen Foundation
Grameen Foundation is a global nonprofit organization that helps the world’s poorest people achieve their full potential by providing access to essential financial services and information on health and agriculture that can transform their lives. Founded in 1997, it delivers solutions that respond to the needs of the poor, as well as tools that help poverty-focused organizations become more effective. It focuses on initiatives that can achieve widespread impact and uses an open-source approach that makes it easy for other organizations to adopt them broadly. Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and the Grameen family of companies, is an inaugural member of its Board of Directors, and now serves as director emeritus. Grameen Foundation is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in the U.S., Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter @GrameenFdn.