[Ip-health] The Lancet: Peter Sands appointed head of the Global fund

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Fri Nov 24 06:06:12 PST 2017


Peter Sands appointed head of the Global fund

John Zarocostas
Published: 25 November 2017
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)33042-8

The appointment of the new executive director of the Global Fund was
announced on Nov 14; it was hailed by some as an important move for global
health financing. John Zarocostas reports.

Peter Sands, the former head of Standard Chartered Bank, was appointed on
Nov 14 as the new executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria.

“Leading the fund in its next phase, my overarching view is we should be
lifting the ambition, both in terms of the scale of the resources we deploy
and in terms of the effectiveness with which we turn those resources into
impact”, Sands told The Lancet.

Sands, who will start in March as head of the Geneva-based Fund, which
raises and invests nearly US$4 billion a year to support programmes in poor
countries, said: “There is a prospect of not just saving many more millions
of lives but of also achieving an irreversible, decisive victory, against
these three diseases.”

Currently a research fellow at the Harvard Global Health Research
Institute, Sands, who suddenly withdrew from the race on Nov 10 but
resubmitted his candidature on Nov 12, was chosen over the other finalists
“because he showed the strongest leadership”, sources said.

The other finalists were Simon Bland, director of the New York office of
UNAIDS, Frannie Leautier, a former vice president of the African
Development Bank, and Anil Soni, a senior executive at Mylan, a global
pharmaceutical company, and a former chief executive of the Clinton Health
Access Initiative.

Senior diplomatic sources familiar with the closed-door proceedings of the
20 voting members of the Board told The Lancet, in the end, everyone voted
in favour of Sands except the USA.

The fact that in 2012, while Sands was chief executive of Standard
Chartered, the bank paid a civil penalty of $340 million to New York State
to settle a claim it had laundered money for Iran in violation of US
sanctions “was an issue in Washington”, diplomats said. But the same
sources said they hoped the USA, the biggest contributor to the Fund,
“would continue” its strong bipartisan support.

“Sands has the stature, and reputation, and high-level business experience
to play the role that's required”, an ambassador from a donor country,
speaking on the condition of non-attribution, told The Lancet.

By comparison with the selection fiasco in February, when the Board had to
reopen the race for a new executive director, because of serious
allegations of irregularities and insufficient due diligence, the process
this time went smoothly, diplomats said.

Global health community leaders hailed the appointment. “The Global Fund is
the leading investor in the fight against AIDS, [tuberculosis], and
malaria, and also a major innovator in the field of development finance.
Peter's appointment will ensure that both impact and innovation are
optimised in the years ahead. An excellent choice”, Richard Feachem,
professor of Global Health, University of California, San Francisco, and
founding executive director of the Global Fund, told The Lancet. Similarly,
Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine,
told The Lancet: “This is fabulous news for the Global Fund, for the AIDS
response and for global health in general.

”“Peter is a remarkable person, bringing deep commitment to global health
and equity, combined with unparalleled experience in management and
understanding how to mobilise funds and political leadership”, noted Piot,
a former executive director of UNAIDS.

Ilona Kickbusch, director of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate
Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, when asked
about the appointment, told The Lancet: “It's very interesting, and timely,
because the financing of global health and financing mechanisms in global
health are going to change considerably, and I think having someone who
understands the financing picture will be very useful.”

Pressed on how he would secure more funds, Sands argued: “The most powerful
argument that the Global Fund can bring to donors is an argument of impact,
an argument of millions of lives being saved, of massive economic burdens
being lifted, enabling social and economic development in communities that
have been held back, by the impact of these diseases.

“We need to make the case both in terms of proven delivery, that the money,
the resources they give the Global Fund, are well spent, and deliver
impact. We need to make the case of the escalating benefit of being able to
actually eliminate, to stamp out these diseases, both in countries and in
key populations”, he said.

Thiru Balasubramaniam, Geneva representative of the health advocacy group
Knowledge Ecology International said: “The most important issues for
[Sands], other than being a capable manager, are: (1) to be able to work
with the US executive agencies and the US Congress, as well as other donor
countries to secure adequate funding, and (2) to facilitate market shaping
for generic drugs, so that whatever funds are available, the Global Fund
will save more lives.”

Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org

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