Climate Leaders in Residence Will Enhance Duke’s Climate Efforts

The inaugural Climate Leader in Residence is Francis Bouchard, managing director for climate at Marsh McLennan, a global professional services company specializing in risk management and insurance. Bouchard, who has more than three decades of experience in the insurance industry, is teaming up with Duke experts to develop research partnerships and networks to help the insurance sector advance climate change solutions. His Duke collaborators span finance, the environment, public policy, engineering, business and more. He will also be engaging with students across numerous degree programs.

“The insurance sector has a proud history of finding novel ways to help society manage risks,” explained Bouchard. “On climate, insurers’ unique risk-signaling role, combined with their deep analytical capabilities, make them ideal partners for local leaders, policymakers and others seeking to develop risk management solutions to energy transition and community resilience challenges. The opportunity to work with Duke’s world-class experts to explore these new solutions, as well as to tap into the passion and curiosity of Duke students, is both exciting and humbling. I’m honored to serve as the first Climate Leader in Residence, and am proud that Duke recognized the insurance sector’s central role in the climate debate.”

The CLIR program’s design is modeled on the Rubenstein Fellows Academy, which brought top thought leaders to Duke between 2014 and 2021. Nominated by Duke faculty, potential residents must have expertise relevant to one or more of the Duke Climate Commitment areas of focus and can include accomplished, influential and well-connected private, public or nonprofit sector leaders; recent holders of political office; or public intellectuals. Each resident’s role is crafted in collaboration with them and is based on the intersection of their experiences and interests and Duke’s priorities. Most will work with Duke for one- or two-year terms, ideally dedicating between 50 percent and 100 percent of their time to the role.  

“The Climate Leaders in Residence program offers new opportunities for Duke to forge purposeful, high-impact partnerships necessary for solving complex climate-related challenges,” said Lydia Olander, a program director at the Nicholas Institute who is spearheading CLIR and other university-wide external engagement efforts of the Duke Climate Commitment.

In the years to come, the CLIR program also has plans to embed Duke’s thought leaders in external leadership positions in government, think tanks, nongovernmental organizations and other institutions. Such arrangements already occur on an ad hoc basis —Olander herself spent much of the last two years on loan to the White House Council on Environmental Quality — but CLIR could cultivate more such exchanges, she said.

Questions about the CLIR program? Contact Philip Hollingsworth, senior program coordinator.