PRESS RELEASE: GDI taps global development leader Gary Edson as President and CEO

Appointment will elevate GDI’s reach and capabilities as the premier organization building social impact startups and partnerships 

WASHINGTON, DC – September 25 – The Global Development Incubator (GDI), a leader in building social impact initiatives to address some of the world’s toughest challenges, announced today the appointment of Gary Edson – a White House veteran, non-profit executive, and business entrepreneur – as President and CEO. 

Edson is a recognized leader in global development, whose experience includes conceiving and establishing the ground-breaking Millennium Challenge Corporation to fight global poverty and co-leading the development of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest commitment ever by any nation to combat a single disease.

“Gary is an inspiring leader with a proven track record of turning innovative ideas into real-world results. We are excited to welcome him and confident that his vision and leadership will open new opportunities for GDI to create large-scale, lasting impact globally,” said Elchi Nowrojee, GDI U.S. Board Chair and a Principal at The Carlyle Group.

“Gary has launched some of the world’s most transformative global development initiatives,” said GDI Founder and Executive Director Andrew Stern, who will be transitioning to a new role as Director of Business Development. “His unique combination of public service, private sector experience, and social entrepreneurship is exactly what is needed to take GDI to the next level.”

Under Edson’s leadership, GDI will build on its first five years of designing, launching, and advising cutting-edge social impact initiatives, such as EYElliance, which is improving the lives of the visually impaired; citiesRISE, which is addressing mental health for young people in cities across the globe; and the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, which is tackling one of the greatest humanitarian challenges of our time. 

“I’m honored to be joining the talented team at GDI,” Edson said. “Under Andrew’s leadership, GDI has gained a reputation for challenging the conventional, pioneering the unorthodox, and pushing the envelope of global development. I look forward to working with the GDI team to create even bigger and bolder solutions with new and existing partners.” 

Prior to joining GDI, Edson was a Principal of Civic Enterprises and Acting CEO of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, where he oversaw the development of a new strategy to end cervical cancer deaths among HIV-positive women in sub-Saharan Africa and the launch of the Partnership to End AIDS and Cervical Cancer.

Previously, Edson served in the George W. Bush White House as Deputy National Security Advisor and Deputy National Economic Advisor. In addition to his work on AIDS and global poverty, he served as the president’s chief negotiator for summits of G7/8, Latin American, EU and Asia-Pacific leaders; coordinated the U.S. response to financial crises in Latin America and elsewhere; and oversaw the launch of initiatives on clean water, human trafficking, global peacekeeping, and food security.

Earlier in his non-profit career, Edson served as President of Conservation International and was CEO of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, helping Haiti rebuild after the devastating 2010 earthquake. His private sector experience has centered on private equity and business strategy. He was a Managing Director of Baker & McKenzie Policy and Compliance Consulting LLC and a Managing Director at what is now the Albright Stonebridge Group.

GDI works across multiple sectors and geographies, regularly partnering with governments, foundations, NGOs, and the private sector to develop new and scalable solutions to global challenges. With Edson’s diverse background and breadth of experience, GDI is well-positioned to build on its success and achieve even greater impact worldwide.

MEDIA CONTACT: For media inquiries, contact

ABOUT THE GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT INCUBATOR: The Global Development Incubator (GDI) is a non-profit that builds startups and partnerships to address some of the world’s toughest global development challenges. Since its founding in 2013, GDI has shaped over 35 social impact initiatives – including designing, building, launching, and exiting several entirely new initiatives that now stand as independent organizations including Convergence, the first investor platform for blended finance; Co-Impact, a philanthropic collaborative pooling funds from ultra-high net worth individuals; and citiesRISE, a challenge for cities to turn the tide on young peoples’ mental health. GDI’s partners come from diverse sectors and include Omidyar Network, Mastercard Foundation, the Gates Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, Visa, and the Canadian government. GDI is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has offices in New York City, San Francisco, Nairobi, and Hong Kong. Learn more at

Download the full press release here.