Independent individuals

in page functions

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.

Gunilla Carlsson

Former member of the Swedish Parliament and Minister of International Development Cooperation

Gunilla CarlssonGunilla Carlsson is a center-right politician born 1963 in Sweden, with extensive experience of domestic, EU and international politics and negotiation. She was an elected Member of Swedish Parliament and Minister of International Development Cooperation 2006-2013. Gunilla´s career in politics include; 1st vice Chair of conservative party, member of European Parliament, 1995-2002, Vice Chair of European Peoples Party (EPP), Member of World Bank Gender Advisory Council, Chair of Swedish initiated Commission on Climate Change and Development ahead of Copenhagen 2009. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appointed her to the high level panel for global sustainability ahead of conference in Rio de Janeiro 2012 and also to the high-level panel for global development goals post 2015. Gunilla has worked with foreign policy, human rights, employment, research, security- and defence policy, development as well as economic commission work. In addition, she has experience and understanding of development and implementation of policy reforms and efficiency and accountability in complex organisations.

Her Royal Highness the Infanta Cristina of Spain

Director of International Programmes of “la Caixa” Foundation

Princess ChristinaH.R.H. 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 Gavi Alliance in 2005. She led the partnership between “la Caixa” and Gavi Alliance, the creation of the employee scheme and the Business Alliance for Child Vaccination, a corporate social responsibility programme. In her capacity as Director of “la Caixa” Foundation International Division, she manages and coordinates its programs with various Geneva-based UN agencies. Likewise, she fosters collaboration programs with the Aga Khan Development Network cultural and social foundations in her capacity of Interagency Programme coordinator of Aga Khan Trust and Culture. In 2010 HRH was appointed President of the Board of Trustees of the Global Health Institute of Barcelona, ISGlobal a public-private partnership focused on tackling poverty-related health issues through the creation, sharing and application of knowledge. HRH is an Honorary President of the Spanish Committee of UNESCO, a member of the Dali Foundation Board of Trustees and the President of the International Foundation for Disabled Sailing. HRH the Infanta Cristina read Political Science at the Complutense University of Madrid, and studied International Relations at New York University. In her capacity she has visited more than 20 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

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.

David Sidwell

Senior Independent Director and Chair of the Risk Committee of UBS

David SidwellDavid Sidwell is Senior Independent Director and Chair of the Risk Committee of UBS, where he is also a member of the Governance and Nominating Committee. Mr Sidwell is also a Director and Chairperson of the Risk Policy and Capital Committee of Fannie Mae in Washington, DC, and a senior advisor at Oliver Wyman in New York. He is a board member and serves on the Audit Committee of Ace Limited, Chairman of the Board of Village Care in New York, and a Director of the National Council on Aging in Washington, DC. Mr Sidwell previously served as Executive Vice President and CFO of Morgan Stanley. Before joining Morgan Stanley he worked for JPMorgan Chase & Co., where, in his 20 years of service, he held a number of different positions, including controller and, from 2000 to 2004, CFO of the Investment Bank. Prior to this, he was with Price Waterhouse in both London and New York. Mr Sidwell graduated from Cambridge University and qualified as a chartered accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

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

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

Stephen ZinserStephen Zinser was 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.

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.


Gavi support will assist countries to immunise a further 243 million children between 2011 and 2015.


More facts...

close icon

modal window here