Ross Connelly, who had served as executive vice-president and chief operating officer of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic) since August 2001, has assumed the role of acting president and CEO. Connelly succeeds Peter Watson, who had headed the agency since May 2001.

Watson has accepted a position as visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Poverty and the Global Economy.

Connelly, who was appointed executive vice-president and COO by President Bush and confirmed by the US Senate in 2001, had overseen day-to-day operations at Opic; spearheaded Opic efforts in revamping the agency’s small business programme and implementing Opic programmes in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Russia; and represented the agency at numerous international events, including Opic-sponsored conferences in Peru in 2001, Serbia in 2002, and Russia in 2003.