The William Davidson Institute (WDI) is a leading independent, nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to driving lasting economic and social prosperity in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Founded in 1992, WDI is affiliated with the University of Michigan and is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. WDI’s mission is to improve the lives of people in LMICs by fostering entrepreneurship and market-driven solutions, primarily through research, education, and managerial and technical support. In the words of Bill Davidson, “thriving businesses drive economic development and improve social welfare in low- and middle-income countries.”
The world has changed much since WDI’s founding in 1992 – and even more so following a global pandemic, increased geopolitical tensions, the explosion of technology across every facet of society, climate change, and the ever-widening gap of income inequality, to name just a few global phenomena. As WDI looks to the future: its next President will guide the Institute to evolve its strategy to meet the changing needs of our world. Core to WDI’s work, always, will be the belief that societal progress can be achieved through market principles and empowering citizens to participate in private sector growth. In furthering WDI’s impact, the President will also raise the Institute’s visibility, cultivate partnerships, maintain financial sustainability, and ensure operational excellence.
The President must possess strategic acumen to solidify WDI as the premier destination for developing private- and cross-sector partnerships to transform societies in LMICs. This work will include refining WDI’s financial model, understanding marketing and branding, thoughtfully leveraging University of Michigan and Ross School of Business resources, and developing more market-facing activities. To this end, the President must be a credible, well-regarded leader with expertise in developing economies, with proven experience setting innovative strategies and delivering operational improvement.
As the face of WDI, the President will represent the Institute to potential funders, clients, and partners, engaging with external leaders across the academic, business, nonprofit, government, and NGO sectors. Additionally, the President will be responsible for leading a staff of over 20 talented professionals and collaborating with faculty from the Ross School of Business and the University of Michigan.
Located at the University of Michigan, the William Davidson Institute (WDI) is an independent, non-profit research and educational organization guided by the founding principle that thriving businesses drive economic development and improve social welfare in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
The William Davidson Institute unlocks the power of business to provide lasting economic and social prosperity in LMICs. WDI gathers the data, develops new models, tests concepts, and collaborates with partners to find real solutions that lead to new opportunities. This is what is meant by “Solving for Business”—the calling of the Institute since it was first founded in 1992. WDI helps societies empower organizations with the tools and skills to excel in business in order to generate both economic growth and social freedom—or the agency necessary for people to thrive.
WDI endeavors to make this vision a reality by collaborating with local and multinational firms, University of Michigan scholars and enterprising students, and experts in a variety of fields. WDI’s consulting work focuses on developing, adapting, and applying sound business principles in interrelated economic sectors that are essential for vibrant economies. WDI’s training programs incorporate the latest thinking in management education, consider the local context, and help to shape learners into the global leaders of today and tomorrow. Through their unique blend of field-based experience and academic rigor, WDI helps to build both resilient leaders and stronger businesses in LMICs.
Initial screening of applicants will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. The William Davidson Institute will be assisted by Jackie Zavitz, Bill O’Leary, and Sara Szynal of Heidrick & Struggles, Inc.
Nominations and applications should be directed to: WDIPresident@heidrick.com