With over two decades experience working in international relief and development in a wide array of different countries and contexts, Simon O’Connell is an experienced and entrepreneurial leader. Simon has been the Executive Director of Mercy Corps’ European entity and Senior Vice President for Global Partnerships since early 2015. With responsibility for Mercy Corps’ European headquarters, Simon oversees a global portfolio of programmes supported by the organisation’s European partners. Simon also spearheads Mercy Corps’ global partnerships and influence team and strategy, focusing on – amongst others – The Gulf and China, where he travels to regularly. Passionate about promoting equitable access to opportunity and catalysing positive change, Simon’s main areas of expertise are in setting strategy, leading teams and fostering partnership; particularly new partnership models in fragile environments. Prior to his current role, Simon was Mercy Corps’ Regional Director for West and Central Africa, managing large teams and a substantial portfolio of programmes in some of the continent’s most challenging environments. Earlier in his career, Simon held several country leadership positions and has worked in over 20 countries in Africa.
A regular speaker, opinion piece writer and influencer in social change, Simon has and is serving as an advisory board and council member to several World Economic Forum and World Bank initiatives.