Independent individuals

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Appointed in a personal capacity on the basis of their skills and networks, independent Board members are private individuals with no professional connnection to Gavi's work 

Independent Board members are able to bring independent and balanced scrutiny to all of the Board's deliberations. These individuals also provide expertise in a number of critical areas such as investment, auditing and fundraising. There are currently nine independent individuals on the Gavi Board:

Dagfinn Høybråten

Chair of the Gavi Board, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers

Dagfinn HøybråtenDagfinn Høybråten is Chair of the Gavi Board. As of 3 March 2013, he is the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.Prior to these positions Mr Høybråten has held several senior positions in Norwegian Government including Vice President of The Norwegian Parliament representing the Christian Democratic Party and a member of the Standing committee for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Minister of Health, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and State Secretary, Ministry of Finance and a Member of the Board of Governors of Norway’s Central Bank. As a Minister, Mr Høybråten was responsible for initiating several major health and social reforms, including new tobacco control legislation, a comprehensive Mental Health Plan and a reorganization of the welfare administration. Mr Høybråten has also served as the Director General of Norway Social Security Administration, an Executive Director of the Norwegian Association of Local Government and a Chief Executive of the municipality of Oppegård. Mr Høybråten holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Oslo.

Wayne Berson

CEO and Partner, BDO USA LLP

Wayne BersonWayne Berson is a Partner and the Chief Executive Officer of BDO USA, LLP, the U.S. Member Firm of BDO International, the fifth largest accounting firm in the world. Previous to holding this post he was the Mid Atlantic Assurance Regional Managing Partner of BDO USA’s Greater Washington, DC regional office. He is a current member of the Global Board of Directors of BDO International, Ltd. With more than 25 years experience in professional accounting, Mr Berson has extensive expertise in the fields of nonprofit and governmental auditing and consulting. In addition, Mr Berson served as the Director of BDO USA’s Institute for Nonprofit Excellence based in Bethesda, Maryland. He is an active member in several professional affiliations among which are Maryland Association of CPAs, Greater Washington Society of CPAs, American Society of Association Executives, and National Association of Corporate Directors. Mr. Berson is currently part of the Editorial Advisory Board of CPA Government and Nonprofit Report, a nationally issued newsletter serving the government and nonprofit industries.

Her Royal Highness the Infanta Cristina of Spain

Director of International Programmes of “la Caixa” Foundation

Princess ChristinaHer Royal Highness the Infanta Cristina of Spain is the Director of International Programmes of “la Caixa” Foundation in charge of global health and development projects in the world’s most vulnerable countries. HRH has been a dedicated advocate on the fight against child mortality since her involvement and commitment with the Vaccine Alliance in 2005. She led the partnership between “la Caixa” and Gavi, the creation of the employee scheme and the Business Alliance for Child Vaccination, a corporate social responsibility programme.

Maria C. Freire

President of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health

Maria FreireDr. Maria C. Freire was appointed President and Executive Director of Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) on November 2012. The FNIH draws together the world’s foremost researchers and resources in support of the mission of the NIH. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Freire was the President of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, where she established novel programmatic initiatives that expanded the brand and reach of the foundation. From 2001 to 2008, she was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development. During her tenure, Dr. Freire took the organization from a nascent operation to a world leader in TB drug development. An internationally recognized expert in technology commercialization, Dr. Freire directed the Office of Technology Transfer at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1995 to 2001. Prior to that, Dr. Freire established and headed the Office of Technology Development at the University of Maryland at Baltimore and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Ashutosh Garg

Founder & Chairman, Guardian Lifecare Pvt Ltd

Ashutosh GargAshutosh Garg is an unaffiliated board member. Mr Garg is the founding chairman of Guardian Lifecare Pvt Ltd, India’s largest chain of health and beauty stores. Mr Garg has also started a social initiative called “Aushadhi” to provide basic health services in rural India through the establishment of pharmacies using micro credit. Prior to this position, Mr Garg held positions at ITC Limited, Lockheed Martin and Hughes. He was also member of the Advisory Council of the Centre for Policy Research, a premier think tank supported by the Government of India. Mr Garg holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delhi and an MBA from the University of Bombay.

George W. Wellde Jr.

Vice Chairman of Securities Division (Retired), Goldman, Sachs & Co.

George W Wellde JrGeorge W. Wellde, Jr. is an unaffiliated board member. Mr Wellde is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Richmond and is a retired partner and vice chairman of the Securities Division at Goldman, Sachs & Co. Prior to his retirement Mr Wellde held several senior leadership posts at Goldman, Sachs & Co including branch manager of the Tokyo office and head of North American sales. Mr Wellde holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond and a MBA from George Washington University.

Yifei Li

China Chair for Man Group

Li YifeiYifei Li is China Chair for Man Group, one of the world’s largest hedge fund managers. Li has over 18 years of senior management experience, having successfully led the expansion of several multinational companies in China. Previously, Li was the Managing Director of MTV Greater China, Executive Vice President of MTV Networks Asia, and Chief Representative of Viacom China. In 2006, under her leadership, MTV China worked with the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee to stage the “Volunteer for Beijing Concert.” In May 2001, she was selected as one of 25 Rising Stars-Global Leaders For The Next Generation by Fortune and was on the cover of Fortune Magazine. She was also selected as one of the 50 Most Powerful Women by Fortune in October 2001. In addition, she was selected as one of Ten Women to Watch in Asia by the Wall Street Journal’s Asian edition in both 2005 and 2006. A native of Beijing, Li has a Bachelor of Law degree from Foreign Affairs College in Beijing and an MA in International Relations from Baylor University in the United States.

Richard Sezibera

Secretary General of the East African Community

Richard SeziberaRichard Sezibera is Secretary General of the East African Community, the regional intergovernmental organisation of the Republics of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Rwanda and Republic of Burundi. Prior to his appointment, Dr Sezibera served as Minister of Health of the Republic of Rwanda (October 2008 - April 2011), and as a Gavi Board member representing developing country governments. He has served in many capacities in the Rwandan government, including Ambassador to the US, Presidential Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, and Senior Advisor to the President of Rwanda, where he worked on peace and security, conflict management and resolution, and regional integration issues. Dr Sezibera graduated with Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees and has practiced medicine for many years in Uganda and Rwanda. He also has a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University. He is the author of many journal publications in the field of politics and international affairs.

Stephen Zinser

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chief Investment Officer, ECM Asset Management

Stephen ZinserStephen Zinser is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chief Investment Officer of ECM Asset Management. ECM was co-founded in February 1999 by Stephen. ECM was set up as an independent asset management company focused on the European fixed income credit markets which grew rapidly following the advent of the Euro. ECM reached €21 billion assets under management in 2007.

In January 2007, Wachovia Bank acquired a majority stake in ECM. ECM is now fully owned by Wells Fargo Bank and operates as an autonomous boutique under the Wells Fargo umbrella. Stephen remains involved on a full time basis in the running of the business and the management of the investment portfolios. Prior to co-founding ECM, Stephen held posts at Merrill Lynch International, London from 1993 to 1999 following a 13 year career at The Chase Manhattan Bank which he joined straight from Cornell in 1979.

Stephen is a Member of Gonville and Caius (Cambridge) College Development Campaign Board where he advises on fund raising and other matters. Stephen is married to Cristina Quazzo and has lived in London since 1985. From his first marriage, he has three children: Emily, Jennifer and Katherine. Stephen’s interests include economic history, financial markets, tennis, golf, scuba diving and travel.


In total, 24% of children in Gavi-supported countries are undervaccinated.


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