Professor John Ruggie

John is the Berthold Beitz Research Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He has also taught at the Berkeley and San Diego campuses of the University of California, and at Columbia University where he became Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs. From 1997-2001 John served as UN Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Planning in the cabinet of Kofi Annan; from 2002-2005 as Special Advisor to the Secretary-General for the Global Compact; and from 2005-2011 as Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Business and Human Rights.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, he has received numerous awards from academic and professional societies for his contributions to social science, public policy and the development of international law. In addition to serving as Shift’s Board Chairman, John is on the Board of Arabesque Asset Management Holding Company as well as Unilever’s Sustainability Advisory Council. His book, Just Business: Multinational Corporations and Human Rights, has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish.

Caroline Rees



As the President and Co-Founder of Shift, Caroline leads our strategic development and drives our thought leadership work on key challenges and opportunities in advancing corporate respect for business and human rights. Caroline speaks extensively at events around the world and frequently facilitates dialogue and debate amongst companies, governments, investors and civil society. In recent years, Caroline has focused on improving corporate human rights reporting as a catalyst for better human rights risk management, the central contribution of corporate respect for human rights to achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals, and the advancement of better ways to measure corporate human rights performance through Shift’s Valuing Respect project.

Caroline previously spent 14 years with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. From 2003 to 2006 she led the UK’s human rights negotiating team at the UN and she ran the negotiations to establish the mandate of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on business and human rights. The success of this initiative led to Professor John Ruggie’s appointment and from 2007-2011 Caroline was a lead advisor on his team. She was deeply involved in the drafting of the Guiding Principles, and she led research and analysis on respect for human rights in the context of global supply chains as well as consultations and field testing on different types of non-judicial grievance mechanisms for victims of corporate human rights impacts.

From 2009 to 2011 Caroline was also the Director of the Governance and Accountability Program at the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School and she remains a Senior Program Fellow there. Caroline also sits on the Advisory Committee of the Investor Alliance for Human Rights, the Advisory Board for Ethical Corporation and the Expert Network of the UN Global Compact. She is a member of the Practitioners Council of Harvard Business School’s Impact Weighted Accounts Project and of the Advisory Panel to the Capitals Coalition, and shares a seat with Shift’s Vice President Rachel Davis on the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility Human Rights Advisory Committee.

Caroline’s prior British foreign service career covers Iran, Slovakia, the UN Security Council in New York and the European Union in Brussels. Caroline has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Oxford University and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Caroline is a British national and speaks English, French and German.

Rachel Davis



Rachel is one of Shift’s co-founders and has led work at Shift over the last decade on standard-setting, human rights and sports, financial institutions, conflict and international law.

As Vice President, Rachel shapes our strategy and oversees a range of our collaborations with companies, governments, investors, civil society and other partners. Rachel leads Shift’s work to influence standard-setters of all kinds to integrate the UN Guiding Principles into the rules that govern business, including engaging with governments and the European Union on mandatory human rights due diligence.

Rachel also has unique experience advising and leading efforts to drive respect for human rights into the operations of global sports governing bodies. Rachel was the Chair of FIFA’s independent Human Rights Advisory Board while it operated, between 2017 and 2021. She has advised the International Olympic Committee on human rights since 2018, including co-authoring recommendations for the IOC on a comprehensive human rights strategy with former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein.

Rachel has more than a decade of experience in implementing the Guiding Principles with a wide range of organizations, including public and private financial institutions and companies from diverse business sectors and geographies, and she frequently leads and facilitates engagements with senior audiences around the world. She is the co-author of the leading study of the costs of company-community conflict in the extractive sector.

Rachel sits on the Advisory Board to AIM-Progress, a forum of leading consumer goods manufacturers and suppliers dedicated to promoting responsible sourcing practices. She is also a Board member of the non-profit organization Advocates for Community Alternatives, which works with West African communities to defend their human rights and achieve sustainable development alternatives.

Prior to co-founding Shift, Rachel was a senior legal advisor from 2006-2011 to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on business and human rights, Harvard Professor John Ruggie. She played a pivotal role in the development of the Guiding Principles, advising on all aspects of the relationship between the Guiding Principles and national and international law.

Rachel is also a Senior Program Fellow with the Corporate Responsibility Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School and has experience at the highest levels of the Australian legal system and internationally, having clerked at the High Court of Australia and at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. She has a particular interest in Indigenous peoples’ rights, having advised the Australian Federal Attorney-General’s Department on Indigenous affairs and acted as Ruggie’s liaison with the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues during his UN mandate.

Rachel has a Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School and Bachelors degrees in Law and Politics from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, where she also lectured and published in law. She is a (non-practicing) lawyer qualified in New South Wales and is an Australian and British national.

Jen Maceyko



As Shift’s Chief Operating Officer, Jen manages the implementation of our strategic plan and oversees Shift’s people, financial and operational activities.

Prior to joining Shift, Jen was the Managing Director at Firefly Partners, a digital marketing agency for nonprofit organizations across the United States and Canada. In her role as Managing Director, Jen led strategic planning and implementation processes for initiatives in the areas of business development, service delivery and business operations. Before assuming this role at Firefly, Jen was the company’s Client Services Director and a project manager, working closely with organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Pet Partners, and the American Association of University Professors on marketing technology implementation initiatives. As a founder member of the Bureau of Digital, Jen has collaborated with and advised a wide variety of digital agency owners and practitioners on building effective, engaged teams and delivering client-centered programs.

Earlier in her career, Jen was a writer and editor, holding editorial and project management positions with Conservation International, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, and Indiana University Press. Jen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Knox College as well as a Master of Arts in Russian and East European Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington. She is a United States national.

Francis West



As Shift’s Business Engagement Director, Francis oversees our work providing expert advice to a select group of companies that are serious about human rights. Shift is committed to using the knowledge that we help generate to build broader understanding of the practical application of the UN Guiding Principles.

Prior to joining Shift, Francis helped establish Unicef UK’s Child Rights and Business Unit. His role included providing strategic advice to businesses to integrate child rights into their human rights due diligence processes. A major project involved working directly with a multinational hotel chain to support a human rights impact assessment in Mexico including interviews with over 300 hotel employees and their children.

Francis also led Unicef UK’s advocacy toward the UK Government on the application of the UN Guiding Principles into law and public policy. A central part of this work was policy development and advocacy related to the UK’s National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights and on the Modern Slavery Act Supply Chain Transparency Requirement.

Having worked at Save the Children and Malaria Consortium, Francis has experience partnering with businesses in the international development context and particularly with those in the pharmaceutical sector. At the UK’s technology trade body, he worked alongside major UK tech firms to design and deliver public affairs strategies targeting both parliament and the civil service and helped develop industry consensus on relevant standards and practices.

As a Board Director at the CORE Coalition, the leading UK civil society network on corporate accountability, and formerly a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative’s NGO caucus, he has experience working in coalition with a variety of sectors.

Francis is fluent in Spanish having worked in Colombia for more than three years with teenagers from contrasting ends of the economic spectrum, at a bilingual school and at an NGO that housed and educated teenage orphans. His experience in Colombia stimulated his interest in the effects of insecurity and inequality in emerging economies and particularly of the variable role of the private sector in these contexts. During a subsequent MSc in International Security and Development, he wrote his thesis on the role of corporate social responsibility in post-conflict zones. Francis also has a BA (Hons) in International History from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a British national.

John F. Sherman III



As Shift’s General Counsel and Senior Advisor, John focuses on the role of the legal profession in the implementation of the Guiding Principles in their role as business advisors.

John is an internationally recognized thought leader on this subject. He chairs the business and human rights working group of the International Bar Association. He writes frequently in professional and academic journals and is a sought-after speaker at legal conferences and workshops, advocating for lawyers’ role in ensuring companies do business with respect for human rights. John is a founder of the IBA CSR Committee and was its co-chair from 2008 to 2010.

From 2008 to 2011, John was part of the central team advising the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Business and Human Rights John Ruggie. Based on his prior corporate experience, John helped shape how human rights due diligence – a core concept of the Guiding Principles – could be incorporated into existing business systems, including governance, enterprise risk management, compliance and ethics, safety and environmental management and dispute resolution.

Since 2011, John has also been a Senior Program Fellow at the Corporate Responsibility Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School. From 2008 through 2010, John was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. Since 2009, John has been an Executive Fellow at the Center for Business Ethics at Bentley University.

Prior to his work on the Guiding Principles, John was deputy general counsel of National Grid, where he had senior and executive level responsibilities for litigation, antitrust, health, safety and environmental law, corporate governance, enterprise risk management and ethics and compliance. He represented the company at the Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights (BLIHR) and was a member of the Executive Advisory Board of the International Institute of Conflict Prevention and Dispute Resolution.

Prior to joining National Grid, John clerked for the federal district court in Atlanta and practiced commercial litigation and antitrust law at a Boston law firm. John is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Dartmouth College. He is a United States national.

Ashleigh Owens



As Deputy Director of Financial Institutions and a Senior Advisor, Ashleigh engages directly with financial institutions, companies and investors as they embed respect for human rights into their operations and business relationships. She also leads on pieces of research under our Valuing Respect Project, which is focused on developing better ways to evaluate business respect for human rights. Ashleigh has a breadth of experience approaching the Guiding Principles from business, legal and academic perspectives and brings a holistic view to Guiding Principles implementation.

Ashleigh was previously Executive Director at Ernst & Young’s Climate Change and Sustainability Services. At EY Japan, she led a team of consultants supporting policy-making, educational program and governance design, stakeholder dialogue and due diligence strategies for multinational and domestic companies across a variety of industries.  As founder of the EY Human Rights Network, she led the enhancement of EY’s human rights capabilities across EY’s global network. In her role she was a frequent speaker and moderator of dialogues at multi-stakeholder fora and functioned as a connector between civil society, government and corporate actors with a common goal of empowering business to respect rights.

From 2012 to 2014 she conducted research at the United Nations University in the field of Sustainability Science, specializing in business and human rights. She prepared research for the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and spent time at the UN Global Compact New York and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Ashleigh later sat on the UN Global Compact’s Human Rights and Labour Working Group and drafted the the Global Compact’s 2015 Guide on How to Develop a Human Rights Policy.

Ashleigh is a lawyer qualified in Australia and England & Wales and specialized in intellectual property law, labor law and public international law. She has advised governments and companies on state human rights obligations, companies on the nexus between bilateral investment treaties and human rights and fellow lawyers on integrating the Guiding Principles into legal advice. In 2007 she won the Intellectual Property Society of Australia & NZ prize.

Ashleigh has authored or contributed to a number of publications including: Business and Human Rights: Corporate Japan Rises to the Challenge (joint publication between EY Japan and Global Compact Network Japan), Corporate Social Responsibility Can Save Japan (Op-ed in Japan Times), Cumulative Human Rights Impacts (in UN Global Compact/ Maplecroft Business Dilemmas Forum) as well as several legal publications on intellectual property law in Australia and English translations of Japanese High Court judgments. She is also a member of the Advisory Board for the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)’s Division for Prosperity.

Ashleigh has degrees in Law and Asian Studies from the University of Western Australia, with studies also conducted at the University of Vienna and Sophia University in Japan. She has a Masters of Science in Sustainability from the United Nations University and has undertaken the institution’s Leadership for Sustainability program. Ashleigh is an Australian national, and is fluent in Japanese.

David Vermijs



As Shift’s Deputy Director of Business Engagement in Europe and Senior Advisor, David engages with our partners on an everyday basis, focusing particularly on helping companies identify, prioritize and mitigate human rights risks as part of human rights due diligence. David has also supported the development of several practical guidance tools with a range of our international partners. As Shift’s team member in the Netherlands, David is also our primary liaison with the Dutch government and Dutch companies and civil society on business respect for human rights.

David has over a decade of experience advising multinational corporations, governments, NGOs and others on business and human rights. Prior to joining Shift, David provided research assistance to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for business and human rights John Ruggie. As part of his contributions, David field-tested human rights due diligence with a group of Dutch companies and their stakeholders, and he supported research on company-led grievance mechanisms.

From 2008 to 2010, David was the lead consultant on an 18-month project, the Business and Human Rights Initiative, under the umbrella of the Global Compact Network Netherlands. The initiative was a collaboration between 10 Dutch multinationals – ABN AMRO, AkzoNobel, Essent, KLM, Philips, Rabobank, Randstad, Shell, TNT and Unilever – and led to the publication of a ground-breaking business guidance tool, How to Do Business with Respect for Human Rights, in 2010. Through his work at Shift, David led the update of this publication from 2014 to 2016 with the support of the Dutch government under their National Action Plan on implementing the Guiding Principles.

Another major guidance tool David has helped develop addresses due diligence on child labor, published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) in 2015. The guidance was the result of a multi-year, multi-stakeholder, multi-country project led by David involving the ILO, IOE, companies, unions, NGOs and other stakeholders.

David was previously a Research Fellow at the Corporate Responsibility Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School, including assisting in teaching on business and human rights, global governance, corporate governance and leadership. David sits in a personal capacity on the board of the Dutch Social and Economic Council International Corporate Social Responsibility Committee. He has a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor of Arts in Business from Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. David is a Dutch national, speaks English and Dutch and is proficient in Spanish and German.

David Kovick



As a Senior Advisor at Shift, David oversees our facilitation and dialogue processes, helping to ensure Shift’s engagements are driven by participants’ needs, are interactive and have a lasting impact on their thinking and decision making. As a mediation and dispute resolution expert, David particularly focuses on facilitating multistakeholder dialogue and cross-cultural collaborations. With Shift, he has facilitated dialogue and led capacity building with companies, governments, financial institutions and civil society organizations in Africa, the Americas and Europe.

Prior to joining Shift, David contributed to the work of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for business and human rights John Ruggie, specifically advising on the role of mediation and dispute resolution tools as part of the Access to Remedy pillar of the Guiding Principles. David conducted this work as part of his role with the Consensus Building Institute (CBI), an affiliate organization of the Harvard/MIT Program on Negotiation.

While with CBI, David worked as both a neutral third party, designing and leading stakeholder negotiations in some of the most challenging parts of the world, and as a trainer, advisor and coach to leaders of Fortune 50 companies in the extractive, high tech and pharmaceutical industries. In the Niger Delta, David designed and facilitated a state-of-the-art stakeholder negotiations process between Chevron, the Nigerian government, and local communities that host oil facilities, leading to more valuable, and sustainable, agreements for all parties. He trained and coached senior leaders from Shell in Nigeria and across Asia in complex negotiations, and worked with hundreds of Hewlett-Packard Company managers on critical negotiations and dispute resolution within their supply chains. He has also advised global pharmaceutical companies on negotiations and stakeholder management in the context of the launch of new drug products.

David earned his law degree from Stanford Law School and his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and African Studies from Duke University. Prior to his work as a mediator, he worked in Zimbabwe and other regions of southern Africa and in Southeast Asia, supporting democratic governance and electoral reforms. David is a United States national.

Mark Hodge



As a Senior Associate with Shift, Mark co-leads our Valuing Respect Project focused on developing better ways to evaluate business respect for human rights. He has extensive insight into how businesses implement the UN Guiding Principles in practice. As a trained moderator and facilitator, Mark has deep interest and experience in leading processes that address complex challenges and lead to practical outcomes.

Mark’s other work focuses on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles in the context of emerging digital technologies such as AI, facial recognition, cloud computing and social media. He is a Senior Advisor to the UN Human Rights Business, Human Rights and Technology (B-Tech) project that is developing guidance and recommendations for companies, States and investors about how to embed respect for human rights into the business of technology. Mark is also a Technology and Human Rights Fellow at Harvard University’s Carr Center.

Mark was previously the Executive Director of the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights (GBI) which he co-founded in 2009. During this time, he led the development of GBI’s cross-industry peer learning program that addressed the daily realities and dilemmas of doing business with respect for human rights. Areas of focus included human rights management strategies, governance and culture, business relationships and leverage, integration of human rights into core business processes and tracking performance. Through GBI’s outreach program, Mark has been a lead figure in broadening awareness and uptake of the Guiding Principles around the world including in India, China, Kenya and Brazil. Under Mark’s stewardship the organization became a go-to place for like-minded business associations, policy makers, the UN and civil society organizations seeking practitioner insights to inform their own work.

His past work includes a project on leverage in corporate lending and project finance for the Dutch Banking Sector Agreement on International Responsible Business Conduct, and the development of a program of work on new digital technologies for the Institute for Human Rights and Business. Over the years, Mark has designed and delivered training and capacity building around the world to business leaders, NGO representatives and students. He has also conducted factory and mine assessments and field visits in several countries with a focus on India, where he was based between 2009 and 2012.

Mark has authored or contributed to a number of publications including: The Transformative Nature of Respect (Allen and Overy business and human rights journal), a chapter on responsible business in Myanmar in Business and Human Rights in South East Asia – Risk and the Regulatory Turn (Routledge) and the State of Play of Respect for Human Rights in Business Relationships, a joint GBI and Institute for Human Rights and Business report.

Mark has a first-class Honors degree in politics theory from Queen Mary University of London. He is trained in various dialogue and facilitation methods including scenario planning, organizational constellations, deep democracy and the art of hosting. Mark is a British national.