Audrey Gaughran has been appointed as the new director of SOMO. Mid February, she succeeds Ronald Gijsbertsen, who has held the position for the past 17 years. With a long track record of successful campaigning on human rights and corporate accountability, Gaughran is the perfect candidate to drive forward SOMO’s work.

For the past 25 years, Gaughran has worked as an anti-corruption and human rights advocate in roles at Amnesty International and the Natural Resource Governance Institute – an organisation dedicated to improving countries’ governance over their natural resources.

As Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International, Gaughran has led teams of investigators, lawyers and campaigners working on economic and social rights, global arms trade, corporate accountability, the death penalty, refugee and migrant rights and technology and human rights.

Audrey Gaughran: “I am delighted to be joining SOMO as its new Executive Director. I have long admired the organisation’s work to challenge excessive corporate power and the unjust economic structures that support it. As we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and strive to ‘build back better’, we have a chance to reset the relationship between multinational companies and wider society. Seizing this opportunity is vital if we are to succeed in overcoming some of the biggest challenges of 21st century – from the climate crisis to protecting privacy in the face of invasive technology and ensuring equitable access to medication. To meet these challenges, we need to take the fantastic work of SOMO to even greater heights.”

Gaughran has spearheaded successful campaigns as part of numerous complex, multi-jurisdictional investigations – including the Trafigura case, together with Greenpeace. This case of toxic waste dumping Côte d’Ivoire, which led to criminal investigations in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. She also led an investigation into oil spills in the Niger Delta, which contributed to strategic litigation against the oil company, and ultimately to a historic settlement of £55 million for the affected community instead of the £3,662 that was offered originally for the damage caused by the oil spills.

SOMO’s Chair Ronald Messelink said: “We warmly welcome Audrey to SOMO. With her longstanding track record on research and on corporations, she is the perfect candidate to lead SOMO’s work forward as we continue to challenge the power of multinationals around the globe.”