British International Investment
27 February 2024

British International Investment appoints new Chief Impact Officer and Head of Financial Services Group

British International Investment, the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, today announced two new Managing Director appointments.

Maria Smith will become Managing Director, Chief Impact Officer and lead BII’s assessment, measurement and management of its development impact.

Maria originally joined BII in 2012 as Microfinance Investment Manager and later progressed to lead the Financial Services Equities team. Early last year, Maria took on the newly created role of Head of Development Impact, leading the Development Impact Investments, Development Impact Evaluations and Research and Policy teams.

In her new role she will oversee the various impact technical teams including Development Impact, Environmental and Social Governance (ESG), Business Integrity and Corporate Governance, Climate, Gender and Diversity.

Maria’s predecessor as Chief Impact Officer, Liz Lloyd, vacated the post after being appointed Chief Investment Officer following the departure from BII of Tony Morgan.

BII also announced today that Samir Abhyankar will become Managing Director, Head of Financial Services Group.

Samir joined BII in 2020 as an Investment Director, supporting the management of the company’s Direct Equity business, with a particular focus on strategy development, investment evaluation and portfolio support. In the same year, he was promoted to Managing Director and Head of Direct Private Equity, and in parallel, acted as an interim Co-Head of the SMART Industries Group for several months.

Since the middle of 2023 he has been leading the Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Forestry team.

In his role as Head of Financial Services Group, Samir will provide leadership, contribute to the strategic direction of BII and oversee its investment activity via financial institutions and into financial services.

Samir’s appointment was made after his predecessor in the role, Stephen Priestley, was appointed the Head of Industries, Technology and Services.

Nick O’Donohoe, Chief Executive of BII, said: “Maria and Samir will both be exceptional in their new roles. It is a tribute to the strength of the team at BII that the best candidates for these two roles were found internally.”



Media contact

British International Investment: Andrew Murray-Watson |  [email protected]

About British International Investment

  • British International Investment is the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor.
  • British International Investment is a trusted investment partner to businesses in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
  • It invests to support the UK Government’s Clean Green Initiative and to create productive, sustainable and inclusive economies in our markets.
  • Between 2022-2026, at least 30 per cent of BII’s total new commitments by value will be in climate finance.
  • BII is also a founding member of the 2X Challenge which has raised over $16 billion to empower women’s economic development.
  • The company has investments in over 1,470 businesses across 65 countries and total assets of £8.1 billion.
  • For more information, visit:
  • Follow British International Investment on LinkedIn and X.

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