Industry leaders celebrate Madsbjerg as she bids farewell as President of The Coca-Cola Foundation

By Felicia Nwosu

Industry leaders across the globe have celebrated Saadia Madsbjerg for her transformative leadership as she bids an emotional farewell as president of The Coca-Cola Foundation.

After a remarkable and transformative three-year journey, Saadia Madsbjerg is bidding an emotional farewell as President of The Coca-Cola Foundation. Known for her visionary leadership and passion for environmental sustainability, Madsbjerg has redefined the Foundation’s strategic direction, creating a legacy that will be felt for years to come.

Throughout her tenure, Madsbjerg’s innovative approach brought about significant changes. She built a world-class team to execute a bold new strategy, supporting transformative programs that tackled some of the most pressing global challenges. Her relentless dedication to sustainability has helped communities worldwide by promoting innovative local collection and recycling solutions, driving higher recycling rates and fostering sustainable societies one community at a time.

Madsbjerg spearheaded numerous impactful programs, including climate resilience initiatives like Recharge Pakistan with WWF, CI Ventures with Conservation International, and Accion Andina with Global Forest Generation.

Recently, in Nigeria, The Coca-Cola Foundation, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), launched the Nigeria Plastic Solutions Activity (NPSA) initiative with TechnoServe. This $4 million investment aims to address plastic waste management through innovative recycling approaches.

As Madsbjerg steps down, heartfelt tributes pour in from her colleagues and industry peers, celebrating her immeasurable contributions.

Anna Titulaer, Executive Vice President at Kiva, expressed gratitude for Madsbjerg’s impact-driven leadership, while cheering her quality leadership, also attested to the impact of her programmes on her company.

“Saadia Madsbjerg, your leadership has pushed Kiva forward. Thank you for being a thoughtful, impact-driven leader. I hope our paths cross again.”


Gloria L. Blackwell, CEO of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), highlighted the life-changing support she provided to AAUW’s programs with a well- penned down emotional message which says, “ Thank you, Saadia Madsbjerg for your leadership and the life-changing support you provided to AAUW for our programs focused on women’s economic empowerment at HBCU’s, MSI’s and women’s colleges. Best wishes!

Zubaida Bai, President and CEO at Grameen Foundation, shared her admiration for Madsbjerg’s strategic vision, noting the lasting global impact of her initiatives. She expressed her admiration for the impactful leadership the outgoing Foundation president has demonstrated.

“The strategic changes and programs you have implemented have truly set a course for meaningful global impact. I am excited to see how the seeds you have planted will continue to grow. Good luck on your next adventure.”

Anna Dear, Community & Stakeholder Director at The Coca-Cola Company, praised Madsbjerg for leaving behind an enduring legacy,

“Thank you for everything Saadia, you’re leaving an amazing legacy behind that we will all continue to benefit from in years to come. Wishing you all the best for the next incredible chapter!

Huan A. McGruder, Senior Vice President for Advancement at Meharry Medical College, affirmed the significant community impact of her leadership and its transformative results on communities.

“Your leadership is greatly appreciated. The impact on communities will become even more evident in time. Wishing you the very best in your next assignment. Thank you! Cheers.”

Joining The Coca-Cola Foundation in 2021, Madsbjerg managed grant-making, financial requirements, and regulatory compliance for domestic and international philanthropy.

Before this, she was a managing director at The Rockefeller Foundation, where she led efforts to channel capital market funds towards sustainable development.

Her career also includes significant roles at the New York City Economic Development Corp., Cisco Systems, and McKinsey & Co. She holds a master’s degree in applied economics and finance and a bachelor’s degree in international business from Copenhagen Business School.

As she embarks on her next chapter, Madsbjerg leaves behind a profound legacy of impactful leadership and sustainability. Her visionary work has not only transformed The Coca-Cola Foundation but has also laid the groundwork for a more sustainable future for communities worldwide.


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