Washington D.C. August 1st, 2023 - Matt Gamser, having reached the mandatory retirement age for World Bank Group employees, will step down as the CEO of SME Finance Forum, effective September 30th, 2023. This will bring to a close Matt’s 18+ years of service to the IFC, including the creation of the SME Finance Forum. Under his leadership, the SME Finance Forum has grown to be a flagship platform promoting financial inclusion for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) worldwide. The SME Finance Forum’s network of more than 250 member and partner institutions fosters learning, steers partnership and promotes innovation in the fast-evolving field of SME financing.
Qamar Saleem has been appointed to take over from Matt Gamser to lead the SME Finance Forum. A seasoned banker with a wealth of global experiences in the financial services industry, and a profound understanding of SME finance, Qamar had worked for leading global financial institutions including HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank as well as large regional banks across the Middle East region holding leadership roles before joining IFC in 2012 to lead SME finance for MENA region and thereafter globally. Until recently, he served as Head for IFC’s Advisory Services for Asia and Pacific where he led client solutions mainly across climate finance, digital transformation, supply chain finance, SME banking and women economic empowerment as key priority themes.
Matt notes "It has been an incredible journey working with the SME Finance Forum, particularly growing our network since 2016. I am immensely proud of the impact our team and our members/partners have made in improving SME access to finance worldwide. I will greatly miss being part of the day-to-day work of our terrific team, but I see Qamar as the perfect successor. He combines strong domain knowledge with a global set of connections and decision makers access that can complement and take our network to the next level. He has been a great friend and supporter of the SME Finance Forum’s work since our very start, and a frequent contributor to our innovation and knowledge sharing activities.
Expressing his excitement about the new role, Qamar said, "I am honored to take on the reins of the SME Finance Forum. I feel the SME finance Forum can play a central role by leveraging digital, sustainability and supply chain synergies as well as migrating global best practices to drive inclusive and scalable SME solutions for the underserved segments. I look forward to building upon the exceptional work done by Matt and the team. I am committed to continuing our mission of empowering SMEs through better access to financial and non-financial services thus scaling job creation."
Listen to that insightful conversation between Qamar and Matt, discussing the transition in this brief video.
The Global SME Finance Forum in Mumbai, India, in September, is the perfect opportunity to meet Qamar in person, extend a warm welcome to him, and celebrate all the achievements of the Forum with Matt. Register Now!
About SME Finance Forum:
The SME Finance Forum is a global membership network that promotes the growth of SMEs by improving their access to finance and other services. It brings together financial institutions, technology companies, development finance institutions, influence groups and other stakeholders to share knowledge, drive innovative solutions and remove obstacles for SMEs to grow their business as well as help create jobs for underserved segments like women, youth, poor and communities in fragile settings.
For more information about SME Finance Forum and its initiatives, please visit https://www.smefinanceforum.org/