Sani Daher appointed COO, Pablo Maldonado promoted to Executive Vice President & Chief Innovation Officer at Creative Associates International

Pablo Maldonado, Executive Vice President & Chief Innovation Officer

Chevy Chase, Maryland – Creative Associates International has made two executive leadership changes that support the company’s continued growth and service to its clients and beneficiaries. 

Chief Operating Officer Pablo Maldonado has been promoted to Executive Vice President & Chief Innovation Officer, in a newly formed office that will report to Leland Kruvant, President and CEO of Creative. Maldonado will be replaced as COO by Sani Daher who has more than 20 years of leadership roles in the development industry. 

Leland Kruvant praised Maldonado’s 12-year success as COO and leadership throughout the company. Thanks to his efforts, Creative has been able to develop new lines of programming and introduce groundbreaking innovations.  

“Pablo is a visionary,” Kruvant says. “He has an incredible ability to recognize and capitalize on emerging development opportunities well before anyone else – and we want to capitalize on his tremendous talent to help drive Creative’s future.” 

As the Executive Vice President & Chief Innovation Officer, Maldonado will lead efforts to develop breakthrough solutions to some of the most intractable development challenges that will lead to even greater development results for our clients and beneficiaries.  

“Pablo has done it before,” Kruvant says. “Numerous times Pablo has placed Creative at the forefront of the world’s most demanding foreign policy and development challenges by offering innovative ideas that resulted in outstanding programs.”  

Most recently, Maldonado had the foresight to lead to our groundbreaking research on migration that ultimately resulted in the launch of the Center for Migration & Economic Stabilization, which has provided clients with unique insight into this challenging situation.  

“The expectation is that Pablo will be more centrally dedicated to generating new ideas and new ways to address the challenges of our beneficiaries,” Kruvant says.  

Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Maldonado has been with Creative for nearly 35 years. He will continue to serve on Creative’s Board of Directors. 


Sani Daher has been appointed COO at Creative Associates International


In welcoming Daher to Creative, Kruvant says the new COO will play a vital role in the company’s successful implementation of activities in more than 30 countries. 

“Sani is a committed, brilliant and respected development professional who is a perfect choice to follow in Pablo’s footsteps,” says Kruvant. “We selected Sani because he is a superb operational leader who has demonstrated a unique ability to lead operations and programs, support business development and build the business of the future.” 

Daher says he has tracked Creative for years, particularly its work in transitioning communities from conflict to peace. 

“I was always impressed by the high caliber experts on the Creative team and, indeed, the depth of their technical views and methods,” Daher says. “I feel Creative is ripe for expanding its footprint into more technical areas and regions and I am thrilled to be part of the Creative team.” 

Daher joins Creative from DAI, an implementer of development programs. Daher rose quickly through the organization, from a field position in Jerusalem to the company’s headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. 

He started his career in global development in 1999. Daher left a prominent role in biomedical engineering because he saw an opportunity to do something useful for his home country of Palestine. He joined a DAI to advise Palestinian pharmaceutical companies on international manufacturing standards so they could obtain the rigorous certification to export their products. Five firms accomplished this goal. 

“As a person who grew up in a developing country, I know and appreciate the critical role local ownership plays in the success of programs,” Daher says. “It’s my philosophy that you hire great local teams and empower them to figure things out, chart their own way forward and stand ready to be supportive.” 

Among his recent positions, Daher was Chief Operating Officer of DAI USG and oversaw global operations for more than 75 U.S. government funded programs and a global workforce of more than 2,500 development professionals. 

Read a question-and-answer article with Daher here. 

Daher earned a master’s degree from Northwest University’s Kellogg School of Management, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University. 


About Creative Associates International 

Creative Associates International works with underserved communities by sharing expertise and experience in education, elections, economic growth, governance and transitions from conflict to peace.   

Based in Washington, D.C., Creative has active projects in nearly 30 countries. Since 1977, it has worked in nearly 90 countries and on almost every continent. Recognized for its ability to work rapidly, flexibly and effectively in conflict-affected environments, Creative is committed to generating long-term sustainable solutions to complex development problems.  

Creative has grown to become one of the leaders among the U.S. private sector implementers of global development projects. Creative is minority owned and operated.  

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