A subcommittee of the Global Fund's board this week interviewed about a dozen leading candidates for the position of Executive Director. The position became available when Richard Feachem, the current Executive Director, announced that he would not seek a renewal of his contract.
A total of 334 candidates applied for the position. Their applications were reviewed by Odgers Ray & Berndtson, an executive search firm. Odgers and the board's Nomination Committee then chose about twenty candidates - using selection criteria developed by the board - that Odgers interviewed by telephone. Based on these interviews, the Nomination Committee then reduced the list to about a dozen applicants, whom it interviewed in person on Monday and Tuesday of this week. The Committee will recommend a shortlist of five of these for consideration and final selection at the board meeting that takes place at the start of November.
The Fund's bylaws require that the new Executive Director must be selected based on merit, in a non-political, open and competitive manner. This has led to a process very different from that being followed by WHO to choose a new Director General, and by the UN to choose a new Secretary General. Members of the Nomination Committee are serving in their personal capacity, not on behalf of the organization or constituency they represent, and each member has agreed in writing not to reveal the identities of candidates, and to report to the committee if he/she is subjected to any lobbying. Candidate names are being kept confidential, partly in order to make it easier for "non-political" candidates to apply without their application being known by their employers and colleagues.
It has not yet been announced whether the five names to be submitted to the full board will be ranked by the Nomination Committee, and whether the names will be made public.
The Nomination Committee consists of the Fund's Chair and Vice-Chair (from Barbados and the European Commission, respectively), plus board members from Cameroon, China, Denmark, UK, and USA and the NGO sector.
It is hoped that the new Executive Director will take office by January 2007. But in case that does not prove possible, Dr. Feachem's current contract has been extended to the end of March 2007. Dr. Feachem will leave his job once the Chair and Vice Chair agree that his successor is ready to take over the job. The new Executive Director will serve for an initial term of four years, renewable for not more than one additional term of three years.
Additional details on some aspects of the selection procedure are available at www.theglobalfund.org/en/about/board/nomination_committee.