John Ruggie

In Memory of John Ruggie

John served as the founding Chair of Shift from 2011 to 2021. He was the Berthold Beitz Research Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He 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 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 was also 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.

Prince Zeid Raad Al Hussein

Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is the Chair of Shift’s Board of Trustees.

Prince Zeid is the President & CEO of the International Peace Institute (IPI) and the Perry World House Professor of Practice of Law and Human Rights at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. He served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2014 to 2018. He is a member of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working together for peace, justice and human rights, first established by Nelson Mandela in 2007.

Prince Zeid has previously held several diplomatic posts including as Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York and Ambassador to the United States of America. In 2014, he was President of the UN Security Council and chaired the Security Council’s committees on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Liberia. He also served as a UN political affairs officer in the former Yugoslavia, from 1994 to 1996.

Prince Zeid is globally respected for his integrity, ethical leadership, and commitment to human rights. His professional experience demonstrates his long familiarity with international criminal justice, international law, UN peacekeeping, post-conflict peace-building, and international development.

An expert in the field of international justice, Prince Zeid was a central figure in the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC), chairing the complex negotiations to establish the exact terms of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. He was subsequently elected the first President of the governing body of the ICC in 2002 and grew it into the internationally recognized court that it is today.

Recognized as a leading defender of universal human rights, Prince Zeid was given the Stockholm Human Rights Award in 2015, the Human Rights Tulip prize in 2018, and Foreign Policy magazine named him Diplomat of the Year.

Federico Burlon

FEDERICO BURLON | DEPUTY DIRECTOR, BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT

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As Deputy Director of Business Engagement at Shift, Federico engages with business partners to better identify, prioritize and act on salient human rights issues, embedding the UN Guiding Principles in companies’ decision-making processes.

Prior to joining Shift, Federico was Head of Delivery at Impactt. Federico managed a portfolio of clients, supported by a team of consultants. He led human rights assessment and remediation projects in the construction, energy, food and shipbuilding industries. This resulted in positive outcomes such as the return of passports and reimbursement of recruitment fees to workers and the strengthening of companies’ employment practices. Federico led Impactt’s engagement with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy in Qatar as external monitor of worker welfare in the construction of venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He also developed Impactt’s Diagnostics community of practice, delivering for clients as well as building internal capacity to execute human rights assessments around the world, with a focus on worker voice.

Prior to Impactt, Federico was a Sustainability Manager at Tesco plc. He contributed to the roll out of Tesco’s ethical trading programme to the goods-not-for-resale value chain. Federico engaged with hundreds of product and services suppliers and internal purchasing and sourcing teams to raise awareness of human rights issues and to prioritise and address the findings from third-party social audits. He also worked on climate change to develop a roadmap to achieve Tesco’s carbon reduction commitments related to direct and supply chain emissions.

In prior roles, Federico worked with a variety of human rights organisations in the United Kingdom and United States.

Federico holds a MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and a BA in Political Science and International Studies from Macalester College, with a focus on human rights law and international migration. He is a United World College Adriatic alumnus and is from Argentina.

Cynthia Burns

CYNTHIA BURNS | CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

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As Chief Operating Officer, Cynthia manages the execution of our strategic plan and oversees Shift’s people, financial and operational activities. She is responsible for developing and implementing the organizational systems, policies and processes that allow Shift to deliver on its mission and realize opportunities for growth.

Cynthia has two decades of nonprofit operations management experience. Prior to joining Shift, she spent seventeen years with the advocacy organization Human Rights First, most recently as Vice President of Operations. Among her varied responsibilities while holding this position, Cynthia directed the annual budgeting process and ensured the organization’s legal and 501(c)(3) compliance. Previous to her tenure as the Vice President of Operations, she filled numerous operational roles at Human Rights First and worked across organizations to improve collaboration and operational efficiency.

Cynthia has a B.A. in Political Science – with a focus on human rights – and Energy and Environmental Policy Studies from Hunter College, graduating summa cum laude. She has also undertaken graduate studies in Public Administration at the University of New Hampshire. Cynthia is a United States national.

Bob Dannhauser

BOB DANNHAUSER | SENIOR ADVISOR

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In his role as a Senior Advisor at Shift, Bob focuses on corporate reporting on human rights, the human dimensions of sustainable finance, assessing the “S” in companies’ ESG performance, and the interconnections between these areas that ultimately provide useful information and insights to investors. Bob also works with businesses and financial institutions on their implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Before joining Shift, Bob worked extensively with asset owners and asset managers, in client-facing roles for several large asset management companies, as well as on the staff at CFA Institute, a global association of professional investors. At CFA Institute, Bob headed the Standards of Practice team, as well as the Global Capital Markets Policy group responsible for public policy advocacy from centers in Washington, Brussels, London and Hong Kong. Bob also headed the Global Private Wealth Management practice at CFA Institute. His investment governance experience includes service as chair of the CFA Institute 401-k investment committee, as well as on the investment committee overseeing CFA Institute’s $500 million strategic reserves portfolio.

Bob has served as Senior Advisor to The Investment Integration Project, an applied research and consultancy focused on systems-level investing. He is also a frequent speaker and writer on a range of investment issues, including ESG, fiduciary duty and emerging issues in wealth and asset management.

Bob earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from George Washington University, a Master of Business Administration degree from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA). He also holds a Financial Risk Manager (FRM) designation and Sustainability and Climate Risk (SCR) certificate from the Global Association of Risk Managers. Bob is a United States national.

Rachel Davis

RACHEL DAVIS | VICE PRESIDENT

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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.

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.

Matilda Donaldson

MATILDA DONALDSON | COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER

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As Communications Officer, Matilda works with Shift’s team of experts to provide communications support for Shift’s mission, helping to drive positive transformation in corporate practice.

Matilda brings a wide range of experience working with national and global sustainability NGOs, particularly in the field of sustainable food and farming and supply chains. Most recently, as Organic Cotton Program Coordinator at Textile Exchange, she worked to scale up the production and adoption of organic cotton, as part of Textile Exchange’s mission to accelerate the uptake of preferred fibers and materials to meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

Prior to this, Matilda worked in communications roles at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in Geneva, and at the Soil Association, the UK’s leading organic food and farming charity. As a communications intern in the Climate and Energy team at WBCSD, she focused on scalable solutions to the climate crisis. Subsequently, as Press Officer at the Soil Association, she landed critical food, farming, and environment stories in outlets such as the BBC, the Guardian, and the Financial Times, at key moments during the Brexit transition and Covid-19 pandemic.

Matilda holds a BSc in Integrated Environmental Studies from Jacobs University Bremen. She is currently based in the United Kingdom.

Francesca de Meillac

Francesca de Meillac | SENIOR ADVISOR

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As Senior Advisor at Shift, Francesca works with companies and financial institutions to support their implementation of the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs).

Francesca was previously Principal Consultant at Environmental Resources Management (ERM), where she led ERM’s UK human rights team, and global technical community on modern slavery and human rights. Francesca advised multinational companies to assess and address human rights risks, build internal capacity and develop and implement fit-for-purpose policies and management systems. She also worked closely with financial institutions including development finance institutions (DFIs), commercial banks, export credit agencies and private equity on assessing and managing human rights risks in accordance with international standards including the UNGPs, IFC Performance Standards and Equator Principles IV.

Prior to ERM, Francesca was Senior Business Advisor at the Ethical Trading Initiative, a leading initiative of companies, NGOs and trade unions promoting respect for labor rights in supply chains. She supported companies to develop and improve ethical trade strategy, implementation and reporting.

From 2012-2016, she was the in-house human rights specialist at BG Group, a multinational energy company. Francesca developed and managed BG Group’s approach to integrating the UNGPs into company processes, and supported BG Group’s country offices on site, on issues including community impacts, grievance management, security and conflict, stakeholder engagement, and social investment.

She has international work experience across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America including on-the-ground experience conducting stakeholder consultation, human rights impact assessments (HRIA), environmental and social due diligence (ESDD) and monitoring. Francesca is also experienced in designing and delivering training and capacity building on social performance, human rights and sustainable finance.

Francesca holds an MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and a MA in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University. She is from Trinidad & Tobago.

Anthony Ewing

As a Senior Associate, Anthony contributes to Shift’s work with governments, business enterprises, and other partners to put the Guiding Principles into practice and advises on opportunities to expand the impact of Shift’s work advancing respect for human rights.

Anthony is a business advisor, attorney, and teacher with two decades of experience counseling senior executives in the private and non-profit sectors on crisis management, corporate responsibility, and strategic communication. He has advised clients in a range of industries, including healthcare, technology, financial services, energy and manufacturing. In the non-profit sector, he has worked with the International Labour Organization, the Executive Office of the UN Global Compact, the International Secretariat of Religions for Peace, the International League for Human Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and an international development organization in Central America.

Anthony teaches business and human rights at Columbia Law School. He co-founded the Teaching Business and Human Rights Forum, a platform for collaboration among teachers worldwide, is a member of the Editorial Board of the Business and Human Rights Journal, and is editing a guide on Teaching Business and Human Rights (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., forthcoming 2022).

Anthony holds a B.A. in political science from Yale University and a law degree from Columbia University, where he was editor-in-chief of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. He is a United States national.

Rutger Goethart

RUTGER GOETHART | SENIOR ASSOCIATE

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In his role as a Senior Associate at Shift, Rutger focuses on corporate human rights due diligence, supporting companies to assess, address, prioritize, and report potential human rights impacts. He guides companies on the practical application of the UNGPs, supporting the acquisition of internal buy-in and development of strategy and policies, risk assessment, external stakeholder engagement and collection of feedback, action-planning and communications and reporting.

Rutger’s expertise is in human rights, labor rights and public affairs, in both national and international contexts:

  1. Business & Human Rights, globally
  2. International labor/industrial Relations, including European Works Councils
  3. Public/government affairs & politics, at national, EU and international levels

Rutger gained this experience through work at the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) supporting the development of the social European Sustainability Reporting Standards; at HEINEKEN, as Global Public Affairs Manager and Manager for International Labor Relations, where he was responsible for international labor relations and labor & human rights; as International Public Affairs Manager and as Manager for International Labor Relations at the Postal & Express Company TNT. His first practical experience in Labor Rights & Relations and Public Affairs was as Secretary of International Social Affairs for the Dutch Employers’ Federation (Algemene Werkgeversvereniging VNO-NCW).

Rutger studied at the Faculty of Law at Utrecht University, where he specialized in Labor and Civil law. He speaks English and Dutch and is proficient in French, Spanish and German.