WASHINGTON, DC – 22 May 2023 | Verra, the world’s leading standard-setter for climate action and sustainable development, announced today that Verra’s founding CEO, David Antonioli, will step down after almost 15 years of service to the organization and to its growth on the world stage. David will be succeeded by President Judith Simon, who will serve as Interim CEO. David’s last day as CEO of Verra will be Friday, 16 June. After that, he will serve as a senior consultant to Verra’s Board to help advise the transition.
“Under David’s leadership, Verra has grown into an organization that is critical to achieving the goal of the Paris Agreement and ensuring sustainable development around the world,” said Verra Board Chair Ken Markowitz. “David has had an immeasurable impact on Verra and on the global climate action community. We are grateful for what he has contributed and are glad that we will be able to draw on his expertise as Verra enters its next phase.”
In recent years, Verra has taken several steps to strengthen its programs, including opening a broad public consultation on the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program, announcing plans to release a new consolidated REDD methodology, and developing a new nature crediting framework.
“Simply put, Verra would not be what it is today without David’s vision and commitment to integrity in the carbon markets,” said Judith Simon, President and Interim CEO. “We are grateful for David’s steady leadership and the vast experience he brought to the organization. His ongoing guidance will be an asset to me and to Verra as we continue to build on the reforms he put in place to strengthen Verra’s programs and, in turn, impact.”
Prior to joining Verra, Judith drove enterprise-level transformative efforts at large companies such as Zillow, Redfin, CarMax, and more. Judith joined Verra at a critical and pivotal point in the organization’s evolution, leading a major effort to improve its operations, from streamlining the certification process, to embracing technology, and ensuring a high degree of professionalism across all of Verra’s operations.
“After almost 15 years at Verra, I am incredibly grateful for all the tremendous individuals who have helped make this organization what it is today. Together, we have built an organization that ensures integrity and embraces innovation to tackle some of our most vexing environmental and sustainable development challenges,” said David Antonioli, outgoing CEO. “Hiring Judith was a part of Verra’s long-term strategy to lead, elevate, and scale the organization. Her business acumen is exactly what Verra needs to better meet the markets’ growing demands. I look forward to staying engaged and supporting Verra and the board of directors throughout this transition.”
As founding CEO, David was responsible for ensuring that the standards programs Verra develops and manages can be used by the private sector, governments, and civil society to achieve increasingly ambitious climate and sustainable development goals.
During his tenure, Verra brought natural climate solutions into the carbon markets and demonstrated that REDD can work both to protect forests and improve people’s lives. Verra also pioneered a new model for rural economic development through carbon finance and seeded new markets by solving difficult problems and enabling finance to flow. Verra’s work now fills a critical gap, picking up where governments have left off. From an initial staff of two people working from card tables in a new office, to 140 employees, Verra has become the leading certification body in the voluntary carbon markets and has laid the foundation for long-lasting impact.
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Verra is a nonprofit organization that operates the world’s leading carbon crediting program, the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program, as well as other standards programs in environmental and social markets. Verra is committed to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve livelihoods, and protect natural resources by working with the private and public sectors. We support climate action and sustainable development with standards, tools, and programs that credibly, transparently, and robustly assess environmental and social impacts and enable funding for sustaining and scaling up projects that verifiably deliver these benefits.