Rodger Voorhies

Executive Director of the Global Growth & Opportunity Division and a member of the Executive Leadership Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Rodger Voorhies is the Executive Director of the Global Growth & Opportunity Division and a member of the Executive Leadership Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation reporting to the CEO.  Rodger overseas the Agricultural Development, Financial Services for the Poor, Gender, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programs within the foundation with approximately $700 million in annual grant payout and program related investments.  In this role, Rodger leads the foundation’s efforts to combine policy change with science, technology and business model innovation to:

 

  • Alleviate hunger and poverty for millions of farming families in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia by increasing agricultural productivity in a sustainable way;

 

  • Make high quality digital financial services widely accessible to hundreds of millions of people living in the poorest parts of the world;

 

  • Promote sustainable approaches to gender equality and the economic empowerment of women and girls; and

 

  • Bring groundbreaking innovations in sanitation technology and new ways to deliver sanitation products and services to people in the developing world.

 

 

 

Prior to his current role, Rodger was director of the foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor program where he refocused the strategy to harness digital platforms and infrastructure to radically lower the cost of reaching lower-income households.

 

Before joining the foundation, Rodger worked and lived in emerging markets for nearly 20 years (Poland, Zambia, Malawi and Serbia). In sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe, he established and grew successful, fully licensed microfinance banks with client-driven organizational cultures that delivered innovative financial services to SMEs, farmers, poor households and communities. He was CEO of Opportunity Bank of Serbia, where he managed the bank through a successful turnaround, using data analytics to reach smallholder farmers. He founded Opportunity Bank of Malawi, the first commercial microfinance bank in Malawi and grew it to become one of the largest providers of financial services in the country using alternative delivery channels (e.g., biometric smart cards, mobile banking).  Prior to being sold, nearly one out of every five Malawi families had a relationship with the bank.