Michel Kazatchkine announced today that he has decided to step down as the executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Kazatchkine, a French clinical immunologist who has headed the Global Fund for 5 years, will stay until March to allow for an orderly transition.
Kazatchkine explained in a message to staff and partners that he is leaving in the wake of the decision by the Global Fund board in November to appoint a general manager to oversee a new "transformation" plan for future operations. The general manager, who was announced today, will report to the board, not the executive director. "While I remain fully committed to the Global Fund and its mission, I have concluded that I should not continue as Executive Director in these circumstances," wrote Kazatchkine.
The new general manager, Gabriel Jaramillo, is a Colombian native and Brazilian citizen who formerly worked as CEO of Sovereign Bank. "My priorities at the Global Fund are to achieve maximum efficiency, accountability and concrete results that save lives," said Jaramillo in a statement. "In essence, we will start with a reorganization that emphasizes simplicity, discipline and rigor, with grant-management as the core activity of the institution." He will start 1 February.
Global Fund Observer (GFO), a newsletter that watchdogs the Global Fund, reported today that "this decision by the Board to transfer many of Dr Kazatchkine's responsibilities to someone else arose from the Board's concern that the Fund's managerial leadership was not sufficiently effective." GFO also noted that Kazatchkine's leaving also comes in the wake of questions it asked the Global Fund earlier this month about the general manager's role. The fund replied that all senior managers would report to the general manager rather than the executive director, whose new role was "to be determined."
This item has been corrected. Gabriel Jaramillo will start as general manager on 1 February, not 1 December.