GTF Board and Team

New GTF board (from left) Andreas von Möller, George White, Francisco Grotewold, Rachel Butler, John Halkett, Cindy Squires, and Françoise Van de Ven.

GTF board (from left) Andreas von Möller, George White, Francisco Grotewold, Rachel Butler, John Halkett, Cindy Squires, and Françoise Van de Ven.

The board comprises GTF Chair Cindy Squires, Executive Director of the International Wood Products Association; GTF Treasurer Andreas von Möller, President of the European Timber Trade Federation; and GTF Directors: John Halkett, General Manager of the Australian Timber Importers Federation; Françoise Van de Ven, Secretary General of the Gabonese Forest Industries and Managers Association (UFIGA); and Francisco Grotewold, Executive Director of the Guatemalan Forestry Union (Gremial). It additionally includes Executive Director Rachel Butler and Operations Director George White.

The Board

Rachel Butler, GTF Executive Director

Rachel is responsible for the day-to-day leadership of the Global Timber Forum and is committed to ensuring the organisation acts in line with its vision and mission. She also acts as the technical lead in developing GTF coalitions mainly in the South Asia-Pacific region and more recently in Latin America. Recent activity includes developing with local organisations practical activities for the private sector to engage in the reform process in Myanmar and Peru.

Rachel is also driving a crucial dialogue focused on better implementation of international market requirements between the major consuming countries and regions namely Europe, US and China.

Having worked in both the public and private sectors, Rachel has a unique understanding of bringing together policy work, international funding regimes and how the private sector can become pro-actively engaged in issues related to responsible forestry and timber supply chains. She has worked for, with or advised numerous national and global organisations, governments and companies – including, for example, Metsaliitto, the European Commission and both the UK and European Timber Trade Federations.

George White, Operations Director

George White is the Operations Director and Company Secretary of the Global Timber Forum and is accountable for the day-to-day running of the organisation and ensuring that the organisation’s internal processes run smoothly and efficiently. He has expertise across a range of subjects from project management and proposal writing through to responsible sourcing and production of forest products.

Prior to joining the GTF, George spent a decade working for the WWF Global Forest & Trade Network programme (GFTN), latterly as Head of the Programme. He was responsible for the direction of one of WWF’s longest running and most impactful programmes responsible for over 50 staff spread across 30 countries. The programme worked with hundreds of forest managers and buyers to improve social, environmental and economic benefits from responsible forest management.

Before joining WWF George was a consultant on responsible purchasing and related supply chain issues advising major retailers and NGOs. He has worked with and for several major retailers in Europe and North America.

Cindy Squires, GTF Chair

Cindy Squires was elected Chair of the Global Timber Forum (GTF) during the organisation’s Rome summit in May 2016. She also chairs GTF’s International Product Requirements task force.

As Chief Executive for the International Wood Products Association (IWPA), Cindy represents companies and trade organisations engaged in import and use of hardwoods and softwoods from sustainably managed forests in over 30 nations across the globe. She also serves on the boards of the American Hardwood Export Council and the American Boat and Yacht Council.

Previously, Cindy directed the regulatory, legal and trade programs for the recreational boating industry as the Chief Counsel of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and spent nearly 10 years on agricultural policy at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Senate. She practiced environmental and administrative law at Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. and is admitted to the Maryland and the District of Columbia bars, having graduated cum laude from the Washington College of Law, American University.

Andreas von Möller, GTF Treasurer

In his role as Global Timber Forum (GTF) Treasurer, Andreas von Möller is responsible for overseeing and reporting on the organisation’s finances. He was elected to the GTF board in May 2016 and chairs the organisation’s Finance and Audit Standing Committee.

Andreas has spent his entire career in the wood products industry. He has been Managing Partner of Jacob Jürgensen Forest Products, a Hamburg-based wood and paper marketing and distribution company, since 1984.  He also holds various honorary positions, including the presidency of the European Timber Trade Federation (ETTF). He is a member of the Foreign Trade Committee of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Economic Policy Committee of AGA Wholesale Employer Association.

John Halkett, GTF Director

John Halkett joined the GTF board in May 2016. He chairs the organisation’s Due Diligence and Due Care task force.

John is managing director of Australian-based Forestlands Consulting and has held senior positions in government forest and conservation agencies in Australia and New Zealand. He is also the general manager for the Australian Timber Importers Federation and is a director of specialist forest carbon development, management and trading company Leaf Carbon.

He is a member of the New South Wales Forest Industries Taskforce.

Françoise Van de Ven, GTF Director

Francoise Van de VenFrançoise Van de Ven has been a member of the GTF board since May 2016. She has supported several GTF-facilitated activities in Africa, including SME needs assessment research and a subsequent regional exchange in Douala.

Francoise has worked in the forest products sector for almost 40 years, half of which have been spent in Africa. She has been secretary general of Union des Forestiers Industriels du Gabon et Amenagistes (UFIGA) since October 2015 and previously acted as Secretary General of the Timber Industrial Federation, Fédération des Industriels du Bois in D.R.C. Françoise is also on the board of Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT), where she is actively involved in projects dealing with governance, transparency and legality issues.

Francisco Escobedo Grotewold, GTF Director

Francisco Escobedo Grotewold was elected to the GTF board in May 2016 and chairs the organisation’s Communications Standing Committee.

Francisco has been Director of the Guatemalan Forestry Association (Gremial Forestal de Guatemala), since 2006 and used to be a board member of the Guatemalan Agricultural Chamber, the National Agricultural School, and the Guatemalan National Forestry Institute. His work for Gremial Forestal de Guatemala focuses on promoting sustainable forestry, industrialisation, adding value and commercialisation of forestry products in the region. His organisation also hosts the regional association UNIFOR that groups private forestry-sector associations from Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.


Andrew Escott, GTF Head of Policy and External Affairs

Andrew leads policy development for Global Timber Forum (GTF) and manages how the organisation interacts with stakeholders.  He also undertakes country projects focused on responsible trade and market engagement. Current projects are underway in West Africa and South East Asia.

Over the last seventeen years, Andrew has worked in both the public and private sector across politics, policy, public affairs and corporate communications.  Since 2010 he has focused on responsible supply chains and related issues-based and communication challenges.  Andrew has advised leading global consumer brands as well as producers and traders of key goods and commodities.

Andrew is the founding director of Carbisdale, an advisory firm that assists organisations on business strategy and communication planning around reputational challenges.

Sarah Storck, GTF Public Relations and Website Manager

Sarah is the public relations and website manager of GTF and is responsible for website content, social media activities and press relations.

Over the last three years, Sarah has worked as an independent journalist and consultant for a range of international clients in the wood sector, including the International Tropical Timber Organisation, Forest Industries Intelligence, and the American Hardwood Export Council.

Previously Sarah’s been a journalist with international timber title EUWID for ten years, managing the print edition and website of EUWID Wood Products and Panels. Sarah has reported extensively on market and price-trend related issues, especially in tropical wood products, as well as the FLEGT/VPA process and other international timber trade topics.