3 Questions with Thomas Cueni, Director General IFPMA, Chair, AMR Industry Alliance
Next week is crunch time for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria. The agency, which channels donor money into lower-income, higher-burden countries for the world’s three big killer infectious diseases, is set to select a new executive director. After mis-steps in the spring that forced it to abandon and restart the process, the board must this time make sure it agrees on a strong candidate. The shortlist is not the best showcase for diversity. Only one of its four finalists is a woman: Frannie Leautier from the African Development Bank and the World Bank. All three men have significant personal, educational and professional roots in Europe or the US, albeit with extensive experience in poorer countries. Three are also from the public development sector: alongside Ms Leautier, Anil Soni worked at the Global Fund itself as well as the Clinton Health Access Initiative, while Simon Bland is a career international civil servant from the UK’s Department for International Development and UNAids. Mr Soni has some corporate experience, notably in India with Mylan, the generic drugs company which has become a very large supplier of antiretroviral therapies in Africa, as well as provoking probes in the US over its pricing practices. The wild card is Peter Sands, the seasoned former head of Standard Chartered bank, which has extensive reach in emerging markets, notably in Asia. Mr Sands was engaged in debates around health policy but was ousted in 2015. Absent in all four candidates are the skills of a politician able to speak to governments. Whoever wins should in any case brace for tough negotiations, notably given the frostier climate in the US and UK. As Mark Dybul, the previous head of the Fund, told FT Health when he stepped down, his successor should reflect on the governance of the Fund, on fresh ambitions to end the “big three” epidemics and on new models for financing health, including a focus on inequality.