Exclusive: Peter Sands reverses decision on Global Fund race withdrawal

Peter Sands at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2010. Photo by: Remy Steinegger / World Economic Forum / CC BY-NC-SA

Update: On Nov. 14, the Global Fund appointed Peter Sands as the new executive director. Read our analysis of the appointment and our exclusive interview with Sands following the announcement.

MANILA — The board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will once again be considering four candidates as it goes into a session on Tuesday to pick the fund’s next executive director, Devex has learned.

On Saturday, Global Fund spokesperson Seth Faison confirmed to Devex that Peter Sands had informed the board on Nov. 10 that he was withdrawing from the race, citing “personal reasons.”

But in a surprise move on Monday, the Harvard Kennedy School fellow and former CEO of Standard Chartered PLC expressed his intentions to get back into the race and asked the board to reconsider his candidacy.

“Peter Sands has asked the Global Fund board to reinstate his candidacy for executive director,” Faison told Devex.

Faison declined to comment further. But a source close to the process told Devex that the board will be deciding whether Sands can re-enter the process on Tuesday morning at the start of its decision-making process, effectively bumping up the numbers of candidates being considered back to four, at least initially.

The other three candidates are Simon Bland of Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS; Frannie Leautier, formerly of the the African Development Bank; and Anil Soni of the global pharmaceutical company Mylan.

This latest development is likely to add another layer of questions about the Global Fund’s selection process, which some members of the global health community have criticized for its lack of transparency.

Early this year, a leaked report from the board’s nominating committee that underscored concerns about each of the candidates snowballed into a series of reactions that led the board to restart the process. Helen Clark, who headed the U.N. Development Programme and was former prime minister of New Zealand, dropped out of the race.  Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, former minister of health of Nigeria, felt discriminated during the vetting process. Some also raised concerns on potential conflicts of interest if the fund hires Subhanu Saxena, former chief executive of Indian pharmaceutical company Cipla, one of the fund’s major suppliers of antiretroviral drugs.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.