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24 April 2024

New Chair and Non-Executive Directors appointed at Social Investment Business

Global Head of ESG at Simmons and Simmons, Sonali Siriwardena, has been appointed chair of Social Investment Business (SIB), the UK’s largest frontline social lender.

She succeeds the former Labour cabinet minister for communities, Hazel Blears, who steps down after eight years at the helm.

Sonali has been a SIB board member since December 2019 and steps up into the chair role after having served as Vice Chair at the organisation. She is a Partner at the international law firm Simmons and Simmons, and previously worked at Morgan Stanley, and Barclays Capital. 

Sonali is also on the board of the UK Sustainable Investment & Finance Association and on the ESG Advisory Committee convened by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.

In addition to Hazel Blears, Jenny North and Jim Rice are also stepping down after serving their full term of eight years.

New additions to the SIB board include:

Louisa Mitchell, CEO at West London Zone, a charity providing specialist support and building relationships that young people need to get on track socially, emotionally and academically.

Magdalene Bayim-Adomako, an independent consultant, and current Chair of the Assessment Panel for the Youth Investment Fund (which SIB runs) and previously Investment Director at Impetus for 4 years.

Debjani Ghosh, Assistant Director at the Office for Local Government. Debjani’s experience as a civil servant spans social mobility, economic growth and levelling up. Previously, she worked in the third sector, with the New Economics Foundation and Practical Action.

Chris Barnard, CEO of Ouseburn Trust in the North East, a charity working to build a vibrant and sustainable future for the Ouseburn Valley. The Trust is a former SIB investee/grantee, and Chris has been a member of the SIB Community Panel since 2017.

Sonali Siriwardena
Sonali Siriwardena

In a statement marking her appointment, Sonali Siriwardena, said:

“It is a great privilege to become Chair of Social Investment Business (SIB). Having been part of SIB’s Board since 2019 under Hazel Blears’ inspiring leadership, I have seen first-hand the transformative role played by SIB within the social economy.

I look forward to working closely with Nick Temple and his dynamic executive team alongside the Board, to evolve and expand SIB’s mission and impact.”

Welcoming the new chair and non-execs, the chief executive of SIB, Nick Temple, said:

“I’m delighted that Sonali is following in Hazel’s footsteps as Chair – they have in common a passion for our purpose, strong belief in our team, and ambition for the difference we can make.

 I’m hugely thankful for the enormous contribution that Jenny, Jim and especially Hazel have made over the last eight years. I’m confident that under Sonali’s leadership and with the new additions to the board, we can build on that track record and achieve even more in future.”