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Founder and Executive Director Mark Lutter Leaving Organization to Head New City Development Project

Senior Director of Research Kurtis Lockhart to serve as acting Executive Director while comprehensive search for new permanent leader concludes.

The Charter Cities Institute (CCI) announced today that Founder and Executive Director, Mark Lutter, will resign as ED, effective immediately to serve as CEO for a charter city development project, for which negotiations are being finalized. Lutter will remain on the CCI Board and is spearheading the search for a new permanent Executive Director, which is in its later stages.

Lutter founded the Charter Cities Institute in 2017 with an insight: numerous stakeholders were interested in charter cities and approaching the idea from different angles, but there was little coordination or communication between them. Today, CCI has 20 employees in offices in D.C. and Africa and stands as the focal point for the charter cities ecosystem. CCI’s work has expanded to include technical assistance to new city projects to design and implement their governance systems, research on governance and institutions, events, and media.

“I’m thrilled to have built CCI and seen it grow to the robust organization it is today. However, one of the challenges the charter cities movement faces is the lack of a flagship project,” said Lutter. “I was recently presented with the opportunity to build a city. This project can not only benefit the host country, but also help catalyze the charter cities movement, and provide a template for future projects around the world, not to mention the benefit to CCI.”

While CCI concludes the search for a new permanent Executive Director, Director of Research, Kurtis Lockhart, will serve as Acting Executive Director and run day-to-day operations. Said Lockhart, “I’m excited both for Mark and for the long reach his project will have into the greater charter cities movement. CCI will be advising on this project, and we’ll bring lessons learned from this experience and model to our other partners, demonstrating how charter cities can attract investment, create jobs, foster innovation, and help elevate economies.”

Lutter will remain on the CCI Board at least throughout his term. Said Board Member W. Gyude Moore, “the fundamental approach of CCI’s charter cities model, no matter in what country or environment, is based upon the foundational idea that governance matters to create prosperity. Effective governance must create safeguards for private investment first and foremost and then establish autonomous institutions. I am confident that this project – and Mark’s involvement in it – will mean nothing but good things for the host country, for CCI, and for Mark. On behalf of the Board we are thrilled for Mark’s opportunity, even while we will miss his leadership.”

Information about Lutter’s new project is under embargo pending the completion of negotiations but will be shared in the coming months. The project will be supported by CCI’s research and guidelines and offer a proof of concept for many of CCI’s ideas and recommendations.

For additional information, please contact CCI’s Head of Communications, Michael Holstein ([email protected]).


About the Charter Cities Institute:

The Charter Cities Institute empowers new cities with better governance to lift tens of millions of people out of poverty. It was founded on the idea that a fresh approach was necessary to tackle humanity’s most pressing challenges: global poverty, rapid urbanization, and conflict and migration caused by poverty, war, and climate change. Charter cities—new cities granted a special jurisdiction to create a new governance system—are that solution.

CCI is building the ecosystem for charter cities by: creating legal, regulatory, and planning frameworks needed for rapid urban growth; advising and connecting key stakeholders including governments, new city developers, and multilateral institutions; and, influencing the global agenda through research and partnerships.

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