What we’re reading: The Global Fund picked a new executive director

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Having narrowed its second round of finalists to four, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria today announced its selection of former Standard Bank chief executive, World Bank pandemic preparedness working group chair, and Harvard research fellow Peter Sands as the international charity’s fourth executive director. We’re reading about the process and the pick.

Decision time at the Global Fund – This piece, from four days before the next Global Fund leader was set to be announced, sums up the fraught process of the board’s quest for its fourth executive director, aborted last spring, and leading on its second try to a shortlist that “is not the best showcase for diversity,” with just one woman, and three men with “significant personal, educational and professional roots in Europe or the U.S., albeit with extensive experience in poorer countries.” Referring to Sands as a “wild card,” the piece also asserts that all four finalists lack “the skills of a politician able to speak to governments.”

Global Fund Board selects Peter Sands to be the next executive director – This special edition of Aidspan’s Global Fund Observer on the selection notes “the decision was accompanied by some high drama” with Sands’ withdrawal from consideration three days earlier (when this piece by Devex noted he was favored by board members and that his supporters included top philanthropic donor the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and subsequent re-entry into the process Monday.

Making it harder for the bad guys – Whatever the other qualifications, leading the Global Fund calls for pragmatism and idealism, making this paper, in which Sands argues for eliminating high-denomination bills as a means of fighting international financial crime and terrorism, a worthwhile glimpse of his thinking, as he concludes: “The world of politics and public policy is full of difficult trade-offs and policy initiatives that are hard to execute. It’s not often that you come across a policy proposal that is simultaneously easy-to-implement, has a powerful positive impact, and very limited
downside.”

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