The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) has appointed Martin Short to succeed Richard Scobey as president, effective Sept. 7.
Short is tasked with leading efforts by cocoa and chocolate companies to make the cocoa supply chain sustainable by raising farmer incomes, fighting child labor, and ending deforestation.
A British national, Short joins WCF after holding leadership positions in the non-profit and private sectors. His most recent position was as CEO at The Power of Nutrition, a United Kingdom and U.S.-based non-profit. It works in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia to improve nutritional welfare and the care of children under five as well as for mothers of a birthing age. Short previously held leadership positions at UBS Group AG, a Swiss multinational investment bank, and Lions Head Global Partners, a frontier and emerging market investment bank.
“I am both honored and delighted to be joining the World Cocoa Foundation at this decisive moment as there is a great opportunity to make important strides in bringing sustainability to all aspects of the cocoa supply chain,” Short said. “WCF plays a critical role in the convening of governments, companies, civil society and cocoa-growing communities around collective action and a shared vision. I therefore look forward to leading it to achieve its objective of a thriving and sustainable cocoa sector, where farmers prosper, communities are empowered, and the planet is healthy.”
Short was selected as WCF President after a global search organized by executive search firm Spencer Stuart and managed by a search committee made up of WCF Board members. He replaces Richard Scobey, who left WCF on May 1 to become the executive director of the environmental organization TRAFFIC.
WCF Chairman Barry Parkin, who led the search process, noted that Short’s appointment comes at an important time for sustainability efforts by cocoa and chocolate companies. Cocoa prices are under pressure amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and this has undermined farmer incomes. Public-private efforts to stop deforestation and restore degraded lands have advanced but further progress is needed. Company and government efforts to combat child labor have shown they work and need to be expanded significantly.
In addition, consuming countries are considering legislation that will seek to address some of the inequalities within the cocoa supply chain, and the World Cocoa Foundation will work closely with its industry partner associations to ensure these new regulations are workable, efficient, and effective.
“As a leader in the private and non-profit sectors, Martin has shown that collaboration and partnerships produce results, and this will be critical to further WCF’s strategy of driving change through collective action,” Parkin said. “Martin has a deep understanding of value chains in public and private sectors and the interlinkages between sectors that impact lives and livelihoods. This will be crucial in the years ahead to achieve measurable advances for cocoa-growing communities around the world and I look forward to working with Martin to take the work of WCF to the next level.”