Chief Executive Officer
Alex Thier serves as Chief Executive Officer of GFEMS, where he works alongside our team to build and sustain partnerships, galvanize global commitments, and advance our mission of ending modern slavery by making it economically unprofitable.
Alex has dedicated nearly three decades to addressing the world’s most intractable challenges and translating bold ideas into action at scale. Prior to GFEMS, Alex served as the Executive Director of the Overseas Development Institute, a leading global think tank that examines causes and develops solutions for global challenges like migration, climate change, and fragility. In 2013, Alex was appointed by President Obama as the global Chief of Policy, Planning, and Learning at the US Agency for International Development and before that he was appointed to lead USAID’s programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the region—one of the largest development efforts in US history. In these roles, Alex created and supported several multi-donor investment funds and played a leadership role in driving major international initiatives, including the 2015 UN Financing for Development Agreement and the Sustainable Development Investment Partnership. He is serving as the Co-Director of the Task Force on US Strategy to Support Democracy and Counter Authoritarianism.
Throughout his career, Alex has demonstrated the resilience, collaboration, and commitment required to strengthen the global fight to end modern slavery. His experience includes helping to negotiate the end of food blockades in civil war, rebuilding the justice system in Afghanistan, working to prevent and punish genocide around the world, and creating the first-ever US Strategy to End Extreme Poverty. Alex comes to GFEMS with global perspective and the persistence needed to make progress addressing even the most challenging problems.
Alex grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and has a BA with Honors from Brown University, an MALD from the Fletcher School at Tufts, and a JD from Stanford Law School. Alex has published scores of reports, articles, book chapters and op-eds including in the New York Times and Foreign Policy, and has been a featured speaker at forums including TedX, DEVEX World, the EU Parliament, the Brookings Institution, and Council on Foreign Relations. He is frequently a featured expert on news broadcasts including NPR, the PBS NewsHour, CNN, and the BBC World Service and has served as an advisor on multiple documentary films. He lives in the Washington DC area with his wonderful wife and two teenage children.