Just in: Leadership changes at the Global Fund

Michel Kazatchkine is stepping down as executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Photo by: U.S. Mission Geneva / CC BY

Michel Kazatchkine announced Jan. 24 that he is stepping down as executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

His announcement comes just as the Global Fund board named Gabriel Jaramillo to fill the organization’s newly created general manager position.

In a letter to Global Fund staff and partners, Kazatchkine said he will leave his post by March 16. He was supposed to lead the fund through March 2014. The French national said his decision to step down was related to the Global Fund board’s decision in November 2011 to create a new general manager that will oversee the organization’s reform plan.

“I respect this decision and trust that it was made in the best interests of the Global Fund. I have reflected long and hard on the implications of this decision for me and for the organization,” Kazatchkine said in his letter. “While I remain fully committed to the Global Fund and its mission, I have concluded that I should not continue as executive director in these circumstances.”

Kazatchkine was first appointed executive director of Global Fund in 2007. He won a second three-year term in January 2011. His involvement in the fund, however, goes back earlier. Kazatchkine was part of the transitional working group that helped draft the structure and principles of the fund in 2001 and the first vice-chair of its technical review panel. He was also vice-chair of the board from 2005 to 2006.

As executive director, Kazatchkine led various efforts to mobilize more funding for the Global Fund amid a global economic downturn. In various interviews and opinion pieces, Kazatchkine has often identified resource constraints as the key challenge faced by the fund.

But Kazatchkine’s tenure was also marred by corruption scandals. The global financial downturn made it difficult for the fund to raise money during the past two years. But allegations of mismanagement and fraud led some donors to withhold funding as well.

Meanwhile, in a separate announcement, the Global Fund board named Jaramillo to a one-year term as general manager. From February 2012 to January 2013, he will oversee the implementation of the Global Fund’s reform plan. He will have full executive responsibility over the organization.

“My priorities at the Global Fund are to achieve maximum efficiency, accountability and concrete results that save lives,” Jaramillo said in a statement. “In essence, we will start with a reorganization that emphasizes simplicity, discipline and rigor, with grant-management as the core activity of the institution.”

Jaramillo is a banker with more than 35 years of experience in high-level posts in the financial sector. After retiring from finance, he served as special adviser to the Office of the Special Envoy for Malaria of the U.N. secretary-general and was part of the independent panel that reviewed the Global Fund’s oversight and financial control mechanisms.

Amid leadership changes, Saudi Arabi announced it will be contributing $25 million to the Global Fund through 2013. This commitment raises Saudi Arabia’s total contributions to the fund to $53 million.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.