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New process approved for selection of Global Fund Board chair and vice-chair
GFO Issue 336

New process approved for selection of Global Fund Board chair and vice-chair


David Garmaise

Article Type:

Article Number: 8

Board Leadership Nomination Committee will coordinate the process

ABSTRACT The new process for the selection of the Board chair and vice-chair calls for the use of a nominations committee to coordinate the process and for an executive search firm to provide support.The practice of rotating the positions of chair and vice-chair is maintained.

The Board has approved in principle a new process designed to bring more structure and more “professionalism” to the method for selecting the Board chair and vice-chair. The new method calls for a Board Leadership Nominations Committee (BLNC) to coordinate the process and for an executive search firm (hereinafter, the “firm”) to provide support.

According to a paper on this topic prepared for the Board meeting on 9–10 May, the new method will: (a) broaden the pool of highly qualified candidates; (b) promote transparency throughout the selection process; and (c) provide an appropriate level of confidentiality to nominees.

(The current method calls for the two voting groups, donor and implementer, using processes of their own design, to separately identify nominations for either the chair or the vice-chair, based on the practice of rotation.)

The Board directed the Secretariat to finalize the BLNC terms of reference and to prepare the necessary revisions to the core governance documents to implement the new selection process ––for review by the Ethics and Governance Committee (EGC) and approval by the Board ahead of the planned 2018 launch of the call for nominations for Board chair and vice-chair.

The BLNC will be composed of seven Board constituency members, three from the donor bloc, three from the implementer bloc and one person from the non-voting partner constituencies. The three donor bloc representatives will form a donor subcommittee, while the three implementer bloc representatives will constitute an implementer sub-committee.

The new process will be used for the selection of the replacements for the current chair (Aida Kurtovic) and vice-chair (John Simon) whose terms end after the first regular in-person Board meeting of 2019 (expected in May 2019). The expectation is that the selection process will be launched in November 2018. Here is how it will work:

  • A call for nominations will be launched and will remain open for a two-month period. Nominations can come from Board constituencies or the firm. Candidates nominated by a non-voting partner constituency or the firm will have to be endorsed by a voting Board constituency.
  • The candidates nominated by donor and implementer constituencies will be reviewed by their respective sub-committees. Each sub-committee will try to identify two or three finalist candidates from the nominations it reviewed.
  • If a sub-committee cannot come up with at least two suitable candidates, the firm will identify additional candidates and submit them to the sub-committee, once they have been endorsed by a constituency from the relevant bloc.
  • The firm will carry out an initial high-level due diligence check on all nominations. The firm and the Ethics Office will carry out additional due diligence checks on the short-listed candidates.
  • Each of the short-listed candidates will be interviewed by the BLNC. The short-listed candidates will be assessed against the Key Competencies and Responsibilities of the Board Leadership –– Annex 1 of the the Board and Committees Operating Procedures –– and the attributes specified in the Board Leadership Terms of Reference. Each candidate’s ethical values and history with respect to Global Fund key strategic issues, including gender diversity and the key populations affected by the three diseases, will also be taken into account.
  • The BLNC will recommend one final candidate for chair and one for vice-chair.

The whole process is expected to take four months (including the year-end holiday period). The EGC is recommending that the final decisions be taken by the Board by electronic vote before the Board meeting in May 2019 (so as not to drag out the process).

Concerning secrecy (protection of privacy): Initially, all nominations will be submitted to the firm and “held in strict confidence.”  After the deadline, the firm will submit the list of nominees in confidence to the BLNC.

According to the executive summary of the Board paper, the new process will maintain the current practice of rotation between the implementer and donor voting blocs for the final candidates for Board chair and vice-chair.

Next steps

The figure below depicts the steps required between now and the launch of the selection process in November 2018.

Figure: Overview of the steps leading up to the launch
of the Board leadership process in November 2018

Source: Global Fund, Strengthening the Board Leadership Selection Process

Board Document GF-B39-05 (Proposal for Strengthening the Board Leadership Process) should be available within a few weeks at

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