16 Dec 2011


I founded Aidspan, publisher of GFO, nearly ten years ago. It's time for me to hand over leadership to someone else. I strongly believe that no founder should run his or her own organisation for more than a decade. I also believe that once people turn sixty-five (as I did recently, though I find it hard to believe), they should make way for younger people and should turn their attention to freelance work, pro bono work and having fun.

So Aidspan's Board is today launching a vigorous worldwide search for a new Executive Director. Full details can be found at the website of our executive search firm, Heidrick and Struggles. See www.heidrick.com/aidspan.

I'll continue working as Executive Director (E.D.) until a new E.D. is chosen and can start work, which we hope will be by 1 July 2012. From then until the end of 2013, I'll be available to Aidspan on a consulting basis, including for the writing of GFO articles.

The Global Fund is different from most other funding agencies; it incorporates some bold and innovative ideas. And Aidspan is also different; there's no other organisation quite like it. We are a watchdog of the Fund, but a "loving watchdog" that would far rather wag its tail than bark or bite. In addition, taking advantage of our complete independence of the Global Fund and our receiving no money from it, we seek to "deconstruct" the Global Fund, explaining to thousands of people who are involved in applying for or implementing Global Fund grants what exactly we believe the Fund means or wants. Unfortunately, the need for someone to play this role appears to be as strong as ever - as I pointed out in a recent Commentary where I grumpily complained that the press release through which the Fund reported on what had happened at the recent Accra Board meeting did not contain the words "cancel" or "Round 11."

Because I founded Aidspan, I of course have had a major influence on what exactly Aidspan does. But during the search for Aidspan's second Executive Director, the Board will not look for a clone of me. The Board will look for someone who has qualities that overlap with mine, but are not identical to them. And the new E.D., with these different qualities, will have a major influence on the course that Aidspan takes. Which is as it should be.

If you are interested in this role, or know others who might be - including people who have little or no experience of the Global Fund world - please go to www.heidrick.com/aidspan to learn more about what Aidspan does, what it is looking for, and how to apply. You will be providing a real service to Aidspan, and to future GFO readers, if you engage in some creative thinking about who should apply. All applications will, of course, be treated in confidence.

Bernard Rivers (bernard.rivers@aidspan.org) is Executive Director of Aidspan and Editor of GFO.

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