[Ip-health] First Post: Former Cipla chief, two other candidates shortlisted for Global Fund's ED post

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Fri Feb 17 08:47:00 PST 2017


Former Cipla chief, two other candidates shortlisted for Global Fund's ED

Shreerupa Mitra

Feb, 17 2017 17:50:56 IST

Three candidates, including a former chief of Mumbai-based drug maker Cipla
Ltd, are in the running to head the powerful Global Fund to fight AIDS,
tuberculosis and malaria. Sources indicate that the selection committee
proposed the following names in order of preference: Nigeria’s Muhammad Ali
Pate, Britain’s Subhanu Saxena and New Zealand’s Helen Clark. These names
were shortlisted by the nominating committee of the fund’s board on 13

The Global Fund is a partnership founded in 2002 between governments, civil
society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases working to
accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. It
raises and invests about $4 billion annually to support programs in
countries most hit by these diseases.

The influential fund launched a search in November for a new chief who will
take over from Mark Dybul, the current Executive Director (ED), after he
finishes his tenure this year.

Saxena had stepped down as the global CEO of Cipla on 31 August last year
citing “family priorities”. Before that, he led the global product strategy
and commercialisation functions at Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG.
He has also worked with Citigroup, Boston Consulting Group and Pepsi Co.

Cipla is one of the biggest suppliers of generic medicines to the Global
Fund. When Antiretroviral (ARV) medications were beyond the price range of
most people who needed them, Dr Yusuf Hamied, Cipla’s non-executive
chairman, pushed down the prices to an affordable and unimaginable $1 a
day—currently, one million people around the world are on Cipla’s ARV.
Under Saxena, Cipla had also majorly boosted anti-malarial products that
were supplied to the Global Fund.

This fact of Cipla being one of the biggest drug supplier of the fund could
potentially work against Saxena since Cipla would presumably continue its
work with the organisation. However, these arguments of apparent conflict
of interest may also hold true for the two other candidates (see below)
since the fund gives money both to United Nations Development Program
(UNDP) and Nigeria.

Pate is a former health minister of Nigeria and a former World Bank
official. He is currently the chief executive officer of Big Win
Philanthropy, an independent foundation that invests in children and young
people in developing countries. He is known for his work on primary health
care education in Nigeria, his work on midwives for reducing high maternal
and child morbidity and mortality and his work on polio in Nigeria.

Clark who was also in the running last year as one of the candidates for
heading the UN—a post that went to former Portugese Prime Minister Antonio
Guterres—was New Zealand’s Prime Minister for nine years starting 1999. She
also led the UNDP from 2009 and was credited for streamlining and bringing
better organisational efficiency to the development agency.

Sources indicated that Pate may be the favourite candidate for global

However, Pate had posted a number of tweets that went against the then US
presidential candidate Donald Trump and also after Trump assumed power. One
article ran with the headlines, “Muslim women ask Trump #Canyouhearusnow?”
Another retweet said “To announce that there must be no criticism of the
president ... is morally treasonable to the American public” quoting
Theodore Roosevelt. Yet another retweet of a Time post said “Donald Trump
has more in common with ISIS than America”.

The US happens to be one of the largest donors to the Geneva-based
organisation. It pledged $1 billion dollars to the fund in 2016 of which it
has paid about half a billion dollars.

This is problematic especially at a time when the new American
administration is looking askance for ways to make major cuts in its global
funding, including to the UN.

Though many public figures, including the UN high commissioner for human
right Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, made some strong comments against Trump before
he was elected, most of them are not fighting elections at the moment where
the US could be influential unlike Pate.

It will be interesting to see, however, how donor preferences pan out in
the choice of candidate. Currently, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is
the biggest donor to the Global Fund who pledged $0.2 billion last year.

Like many other global humanitarian organisations, the Global Fund is also
grappling with finances and gets about $5 billion annually which is about
half of what it needs.

India pledged about Rs 45,00,000 in contribution to the fund last year
while it has disbursed about $1.8 billion and committed about $2 billion
till date to India for work on AIDS, malaria, TB and TB/HIV.

The nomination committee for choosing the ED is chaired by Jan Paehler, the
vice-chair of the board’s Ethics and Governance Committee and also includes
Amy Baker, Michèle Boccoz, Sarah Boulton, Hristijan Jankuloski, Vinand
Nantulya, Filipe da Costa and two independent members, Eric Goosby and Mphu

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