Wall Street Journal - January 25, 2012
The executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis, and Malaria is stepping down more than two years
ahead of schedule, following criticism of the organization's
financial and management practices and some cutbacks in funding.
Michel Kazatchkine, who has headed the major financier of global
health programs for five years, will step down March 16, he said
in a letter posted on the Global Fund's website.
But Dr. Kazatchkine, a well-regarded French physician, has faced
criticism of his stewardship of the 10-year-old public-private
Geneva-based organization, which has raised $22.6 billion from
the U.S. and other countries in addition to private donors such
as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for AIDS drugs,
anti-tuberculosis treatments, and insecticide-treated bed nets
for malaria prevention in 150 countries.
A high-level panel issued a report last year calling for major
changes in the way the fund operates, concluding that it must
improve risk management, simplify grant application processes,
and place greater emphasis on results. The panel was formed to
investigate the fund's practices after its own inspector general
uncovered misuse of some grant money in four countries.
In November, the fund was forced to cancel a planned round of
fresh funding after determining that it was well short of funds,
due in part to a slowdown in donor contributions in the global
financial crisis, but also due to its own overly optimistic
projections and forecasting.
The Global Fund named Gabriel Jaramillo, a retired bank
executive, to head the organization for a year until a new
executive director is appointed. Mr. Jaramillo, a native of
Colombia and a citizen of Brazil, was chairman and chief
executive officer of Sovereign Bank, a Boston-based wholly owned
subsidiary of Spain's Banco Santander SA. He served on the
high-level panel that assessed the Global Fund's fiduciary
controls and oversight. He will assume his new role Feb. 1.
Mr. Jaramillo will be charged with implementing changes called
for by the panel on which he served. "We will start with a
reorganization that emphasizes simplicity, discipline and rigor,
with grant-management as the core activity of the institution,"
Mr. Jaramillo said in a statement.
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