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Woochong Um announced as CEO to lead The Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet

Woochong Um’s appointment marks an important milestone for GEAPP as we step up our commitment to catalyzing a renewable energy movement which will improve the lives of millions and help build a sustainable future for our planet. In our initial two years, the alliance has shown powerful progress in advancing the transition to green energy. In Woochong, we have a leader who comes from a key member of our alliance and brings a keen appreciation of the urgency of the mission and the need for collective action. His decision to join and lead GEAPP will propel us into an even brighter future together.”

The appointment of Woochong Um culminates a rigorous selection process and represents the beginning of a new phase for GEAPP as it builds on a successful track record that started with its launch at COP26 in 2021. To date, GEAPP has invested $464m of active capital in nearly 100 projects in almost 20 countries, and built an alliance of over 50 partners driving a shared mission that is showing early evidence of transformational impact with 147,000 tons of CO2 emissions averted, 1.3 million people and businesses connected to new or improved energy systems, and over 600,000 jobs and livelihoods supported (directly and indirectly) as cited in its second impact report Powering People & Planet.

Jessica Anderen, CEO of the IKEA Foundation, a founding partner of GEAPP alongside The Rockefeller Foundation and Bezos Earth Fund, said, “Woochong has deep experience in building diverse, trust-based coalitions that come together to deliver social and environmental impact at scale. Woochong’s approach to leadership is rooted in his values and a long-standing commitment to making a positive impact on people and the planet. The IKEA Foundation is delighted to welcome him to his new role.”

Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation, said, “At a moment when the world has finally realized the need to transition away from fossil fuels, Woochong is the innovative and proven executive GEAPP needs to ensure that everyone – not just the wealthiest countries and communities—can power their lives and futures with renewable energy.”

GEAPP is grateful to have had the dedicated and strong leadership of interim CEO Joseph Ng’ang’a, who guided the alliance and advanced its work to scale distributed renewable energy and battery energy storage systems across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Effective 1 August 2024, Joseph will hand over the role to Woochong Um, who will continue the alliance’s pioneering work to scale new solutions, strengthen partnerships, and facilitate access to an inclusive and resilient future for all.

“The appointment of Woochong Um as CEO of GEAPP is an inspired choice,” said Dr. Andrew Steer, President & CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund. “The mission of GEAPP could not be more important, and

Woochong brings to the task a highly distinguished track record as a leader, mentor, and change agent. This appointment will add momentum to the pace of the energy transition in emerging and developing countries, where families and businesses will have better and safer access to power. We’re proud to be a partner with GEAPP’s collective movement to drive a just energy transition for all.”

“As we embark on this journey toward a greener future, we stand firm in our resolve to champion innovation and accessibility in the energy transition especially in emerging markets. Over the past two years, we have laid the foundation for GEAPP’s continued growth and catalytic impact and I look forward to continuing our work with Woochong Um to deliver even greater impact for people and planet together with our alliance partners,” said Joseph Nganga, Interim CEO of GEAPP.

Woochong Um brings a wealth of experience from his prestigious 31-year career at the Asian Development Bank. As ADB’s Managing Director General, he spearheaded global partnerships and funding mechanisms to transform economies and communities. Woochong’s time at the ADB saw him driving the bank’s sustainability agenda, putting environmental and renewable energy action plans at the heart of major development sectors, including health, education, agriculture, community resilience, and humanitarian settings. Prior to the ADB, he worked as a corporate computer systems specialist at Pitney Bowes and Pfizer in the USA.

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