Dr Seth Berkley appointed as GAVI Alliance Chief Executive Officer

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Renowned epidemiologist will lead GAVI Alliance's strategy to save four million lives by 2015 

Seth Berkley

Seth Berkley. Source: IAVI.

Geneva, 8 March 2011 - The GAVI Alliance Board announced today that it has appointed Dr Seth Berkley as the new Chief Executive Officer of the GAVI Alliance.

The President, CEO and founder of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), Dr Berkley is a Harvard-trained physician, CDC-trained epidemiologist and a leading global vaccines advocate.

"The GAVI Board is delighted to have attracted such a highly qualified and charismatic individual as Dr Berkley," said Dagfinn Høybråten, GAVI Alliance Board Chair. "Dr Berkley is an experienced leader in global public health with strong advocacy skills and is highly motivated to making vaccines available for all children. I am confident that, with Dr Berkley as the CEO, the Alliance will further increase its crucial role in providing cost effective immunisation for the world's disadvantaged."

Dr Berkley brings to GAVI a wealth of experience as an entrepreneurial CEO and fundraiser and a proven ability in building coalitions around a common vision. Under his leadership, IAVI implemented a global advocacy programme that assured that vaccines receive prominent attention in the media and in political fora such as the G8, EU and the UN. He also oversaw the creation of a virtual vaccine product development effort involving industry, academia, and developing country scientists.

Prior to founding IAVI in 1996, Dr Berkley was an officer of the Health Sciences Division at The Rockefeller Foundation where he managed programmes on vaccines, AIDS, reproductive health and public health training in Africa, Asia and Latin America. His past experience also includes work at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Task Force for Child Survival at the Carter Center where he served as the Ministry of Health Epidemiologist in Uganda. Dr Berkley has been featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine and recognised by TIME magazine in 2009 as one of the "100 most influential people in the world."

Dr Berkley, an American married with two children, is expected to take up his new role in August but will participate in several key GAVI meetings, including the Alliance's first pledging conference on 13 June, which will be hosted by the UK government. At the conference, GAVI will seek to raise US$ 3.7 billion in additional funds to accelerate the introduction of new and underused vaccines in low-income countries and save up to four million lives by 2015.

"I am very familiar with GAVI's life-saving work and have great admiration for its successful track record," said Dr Berkley. "I am, therefore, honored and extremely excited to have been chosen to lead the Alliance as it works to deliver on an ambitious new strategy to introduce new vaccines including those against pneumococcal and rotavirus diseases, Meningitis A, HPV, rubella and Japanese encephalitis. I also look forward to the day when malaria and HIV will be added to this list."

Dr Berkley will take over from GAVI's Deputy CEO Helen Evans who has been the interim CEO since the departure of former CEO Dr Julian Lob-Levyt in October.

"Helen's leadership as interim CEO has been rock solid and I have asked her to continue to guide GAVI through the important days ahead until Seth arrives," said Høybråten. "We must continue to build on the extremely positive momentum that has continued under her leadership."

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