Global Fund Leadership-- Phase 2

April 03, 2006
Honoring the recent retirement announcement by Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Lancet (subscription required) asserted:
As head of the Global Fund, Feachem was the steward of a very good idea. But while his string of honorary accolades attest to his academic clout, the sad fact is that he did not have the political connections to make the Fund the success it could have been… To succeed where Feachem failed, the Global Fund's next head must have sufficient political weight to win real support.
If only it were so easy! Guiding the organization through its first four years, Dr. Feachem helped define what the Global Fund could be--a new and innovative model for aid delivery that emphasizes rapid resource mobilization, multi-sectoral participation and real country ownership. The next Executive Director faces the challenge of defining what the Global Fund will be, what will the organization look like into the future. There are three main qualifications and challenges:
  1. Sufficient political savvy and sway to attract new donors to the Fund, including Arab and oil-rich countries and the private sector, whose participation to date has been minor, while not alienating the United States and European governments who have contributed the vast majority of the funding to date.
  2. Strong institutional leadership and management capacity within the Secretariat to, among other things, reverse the very high staff turn-over rates and declining morale. High staff turn-over, coupled with the lack of country presence, has been identified by in-country recipients as a major burden to working with the Fund and represents high opportunity cost for recipients.
  3. Robust vision to address the mounting challenges of the maturing organization. This includes strategically addressing pressing programmatic questions such as how to ensure sustainability, whether to continue expired but successful grants and how to ensure real participation by the private sector and civil society.
Clearly money is critical, but what the organization really needs is a leader.


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.