Michael Meehan has become GRI’s new Chief Executive.

Source: Global Reporting Initiative, 14 August 2014

Michael Meehan has become GRI’s new Chief Executive. He succeeds Ernst Ligteringen who is leaving the organization after 12 years of exceptional leadership.
The announcement of Mr. Meehan’s appointment on 22 July resulted in a flurry of press and media attention. The Guardian was the first to carry an article about the new CE, with a perceptive interview by Jo Confino in the paper’s ‘Sustainable Business’ section. Confino reported that Mr. Meehan felt the need to find common ground between GRI and newer, emerging reporting organizations, and that it would be a mistake for GRI to think it was the only ‘game in town’.

Mr. Meehan spoke further in the interview of his desire to improve the quality of reporting, and the importance of encouraging smaller companies and organizations to report on their social, environmental and economic impacts. He also stressed how good quality data can be a valuable tool in sustainability reporting.

Changing landscape
The day before, The Guardian carried an open letter to Mr. Meehan from Allen White – GRI’s co-founder and former chief executive. White congratulated GRI’s new CE on his appointment and paid tribute to Ernst Ligteringen’s ‘exemplary leadership’. While praising GRI’s proposed ‘reconstituted governance as an example of adaptation in the face of a changing landscape’, White also commented on the challenges of increasing the number of GRI reporters, and how to bring sustainability reporting to the “hundreds of thousands of private companies worldwide to complement GRI’s strength with publicly-listed firms.” He also stressed the importance of collaboration with “kindred disclosure initiatives” to avoid confusion.

In response, Mr. Meehan agreed that the number of reporters need to increase but added that the quality of reports is equally important. He also reiterated his sentiments about how collaboration can combat confusion and compared GRI to an “apple tree, where the many branches are like the diverse stakeholders of the GRI process.”

Taste of things to come
CSR consultant and sustainability reporter Elaine Cohen provided both an insightful and entertaining perspective on Mr. Meehan’s appointment in her CSR Reporting Blog on July 23. As well as answering Elaine’s questions about his new role and views on the future development of GRI, Mr. Meehan also revealed what his favorite ice cream flavor is…