On 1 March 2017, the Global Fund Board formally launched the process for selecting its next chair and vice-chair. The new board leadership is expected to be named at the next Board meeting on 3-4 May 2017, when the terms of current Chair, Norbert Hauser, and the current Vice-Chair, Aida Kurtovic, expire.
The deadline for nominations is 28 March. The nominations will come from the donor and implementer blocs on the Board. It is expected that the implementer bloc will nominate one person for the position of chair, and the donor bloc will nominate one person for the position of vice-chair. This is in keeping with the practice of having the positions alternate every two years between individuals who originate from, and bring the experience of, the implementer and donor blocs. The current Chair, Mr Hauser, originates from the donor bloc. The current vice-chair, Ms Kurtovic, originates from the implementer bloc.
The implementer and donor blocs are each responsible for designing the process they will follow to come up with a nomination.
While the tradition has been for each bloc to nominate only one person, there is nothing in the terms of reference [TOR] for the positions, or in the instructions for completing the nomination form, that says that the blocs can’t nominate more than one person. Each constituency has the right to put forward a name directly to the Ethics and Governance Committee as stipulated in the Operating Procedures of the Board and Committees. If there is more than one nomination from either the implementer bloc or the donor bloc, or both, the Board will need to determine what process will be followed beyond that which is described in this article. That process will likely involve an enhanced role for the EGC.
Once appointed, the new chair and vice-chair act only in the best interest of the Global Fund as a whole. According to the TOR, the chair and vice-chair must not represent any particular bloc, constituency, Board voting group or other stakeholder.
The same date, 28 March, is also the deadline for nominees to provide an up-to-date Declaration of Interest form. This form is used to identify and address actual or potential conflicts of interest.
The additional steps in the selection process are as follows:
- On 28 March, the Office of Board Affairs will review the nominations to ensure that the forms are duly completed and all requested supporting documents have been provided.
- By 31 March, the Ethics and Governance Committee will review the nominated candidates and formally notify the outgoing Board chair and vice-chair.
- On 10 April, the outgoing Board leadership will submit an update on progress and next steps to the Board.
- On 3-4 May, at the Board meeting, the outgoing Board leadership will formally submit the nominated candidates to the Board; the election and appointment processes will be conducted; and the Global Fund will formally announce the appointment of the new chair and vice-chair.
The current selection process is the first time that the above steps are being applied.
Dates are then set for the formal handover from the outgoing to the incoming Board leadership.
The new chair and vice-chair will serve for a two-year term. They will serve in their personal capacities as non-voting members of the Board.
According to the TOR, at the beginning of their terms, the Board chair and vice-chair shall determine between themselves their shared and individual responsibilities to oversee the Board’s performance.
The TORs state that the chair and vice-chair “bring to their respective roles broad perspective and accumulated wisdom and experience. As representatives of the Board as a whole, they collaborate with management to achieve the strategic vision of the organization, providing broad guidance and input into management’s decision-making to assist in implementation of that vision.”
It may be a challenging two years for the new chair and vice-chair. Right at the start of their terms, they will need to oversee the process for selecting a new executive director. And they may need to deal with fallout from the threats of the U.S. administration to cut development aid.
The constituencies will need to nominate people with good experience and with the capacity to achieve consensus among multiple stakeholders. They will need to choose people who are able to focus on results and who have strong diplomatic skills in order to negotiate with governments – both donors and implementers – to increase resources for health. The new chair and vice-chair will have to start the new replenishment cycle in a challenging funding environment.
The terms of reference for the Board chair and vice-chair, as adopted at the Board Retreat on 27-28 February 2017, will be posted on the Global Fund website shortly.