New SPERI co-directors announced

A message from Professor Colin Hay

Dear colleagues and friends of SPERI,

I am really delighted to be able to announce some fantastic news about SPERI’s leadership.

Genevieve LeBaron and Adam Leaver have both been offered, and have both accepted, to join me as co-directors of SPERI, with immediate effect. You will find a short biopic of each below.

Given that both Genevieve and Adam have substantial on-going commitments, the months until September will be something of a transitional period. But during that time lots will be happening. We will be advertising a number of post-doctoral research fellowships and rejuvenating SPERI’s web presence, amongst other things.

This is a very important moment in SPERI’s development. I am exceptionally proud of what we have managed to achieve collectively in the six years since we were established, and now thoroughly confident that SPERI will grow from strength to strength in the years ahead. I really look forward to working with Adam and Genevieve in the months and years to come and would just like to thank them for the confidence they have shown already in SPERI in agreeing to take on such important roles in our collective project.

I would like to thank Tony Payne, without whom – of course – none of this would be possible. It has been my pleasure and privilege to work with Tony as co-director since SPERI’s founding. I would also like to take the chance to thank Craig Berry, our current Deputy Director, for his exceptional contribution to SPERI. Craig will be leaving us in May to take up a new post as Reader in Political Economy at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has been a pleasure and privilege to work with and will be greatly missed.

With all best wishes and with thanks for your continued support for and engagement with SPERI,

Colin Hay
Co-Director of SPERI

Adam Leaver

Adam Leaver joined the Sheffield University Management School in October 2017 as Professor of Accounting and Society. He is an ISRF Political Economy Research Fellow. Prior to arriving in Sheffield, Adam was Professor in Financialization and Management at the University of Manchester, and researcher at the Centre for Research In Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC).

His work is interdisciplinary, working at the intersection of critical accounting, political economy and management. He has published multiple co-authored books and articles on financialization and financial crisis and has a track record of publishing impactful public interest reports on financial sector reform.

Adam’s current research interests include: i) using social network analysis methods to map the social relationships that underlie certain complex securities markets; ii) developing a relational theory of the firm to understand the impact of financialization in the corporate sphere; iii) exploring the inter-temporal transfers and tensions that arise as a consequence of financialization; and iv) theorising the sociology of metric gaming in organisations.

Genevieve LeBaron

Genevieve LeBaron is Professor of Politics at the University of Sheffield. She is also Co-Chair of the Yale University Modern Day Slavery Working Group and an Editor of Review of International Political Economy.

Her research focuses on the political economy of the global labour market, including current research projects on the governance of transnational supply chains, the politics and effectiveness of corporate social responsibility, and the business models of forced labour.

In 2017, she was ranked the #1 academic (and #38 overall) on the global Top 100 Human Trafficking & Slavery Influence Leaders List, alongside leaders from the UK and US governments, Apple, Ford and the New York Times. In 2015, she was awarded the Rising Star Engagement Award from the British Academy in recognition of her contributions to research and policy-making on forced labour.

Genevieve currently holds grants from the UK Economic and Social Research Council and the British Academy and UK Department for International Development. Her research has also attracted funding from the Ford Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the UK Economic and Social Research Council’s Global Challenges Research Fund, and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, amongst other funders.

Genevieve is co-founder of’s Beyond Trafficking and Slavery. She has written for leading newspapers including The Guardian and, and her research on forced labour has been profiled in Fortune Magazine, Forbes, and The Guardian, and has been cited widely in policy initiatives. She is a columnist for the United Nations’ knowledge platform Delta 8.7.

Prior to joining Sheffield, Genevieve was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia. She has also been a visiting scholar at the International Labour Organization in Geneva, the University of California, Berkeley, Osgoode Hall Law School, and Sciences Po. In 2015-2016, she was Yale University’s Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery Fellow.