(07 Dec 2020)
The WHO Foundation has appointed Anil Soni as its
inaugural Chief Executive Officer, effective 1 January 2021.

Soni
joins the Foundation from Viatris, a global healthcare company, where he has served as Head of Global Infectious Diseases.

As CEO, Soni is charged with accelerating the Foundation’s work to invest in
innovative, evidence-based initiatives that support the WHO in
delivering on its mission to ensure healthy lives and promote
well-being for all.

Anil Soni. Click to enlarge.

The
Foundation, an independent grant-making agency headquartered in
Geneva, Switzerland, was launched in May 2020 to work alongside the World
Health Organization (WHO) and the global health community to
address the world’s most pressing global health challenges.

Professor Thomas Zeltner, Founder and
Chairman of the Board of the WHO Foundation, said, “Anil is a
dynamic leader with deep experience across all aspects of global
public health. From his work at Viatris where he has led the
development and introduction of medicines to treat HIV/AIDS and
tuberculosis, to his leadership of the Clinton Health Access
Initiative, and his time at the Global Fund, he has demonstrated
his ability to work across public, private, and nonprofit sectors
and build successful new organizations from the ground up. On
behalf of the Board, we are delighted to have Anil lead the
Foundation at this critical moment for the future of global health.”

A seasoned global health expert, Soni has over 20
years of experience working across public, private, and nonprofit
sectors to expand healthcare access in low and middle-income
countries.

While at Viatris, he has been instrumental in
shortening the amount of time needed to make low-cost medicines
available in high-burden settings. This was most recently
reflected by the approval of an HIV medicine recommended by the
WHO for infants born with HIV, at a 75% reduction in cost to the
current treatment.

Such success reflects Soni’s experience
building some of the most innovative and impactful organizations
in global health over the last decade, notably the Global Fund to
Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Clinton Health Access
Initiative.

In addition to advisory roles with the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation and the MDG Health Alliance, Soni joins the WHO
Foundation with a strong track record of mobilizing resources and
advocating for global health priorities, as demonstrated through
his leadership of the Friends of the Global Fight in the United
States.

Anil Soni said, “We are at a critical juncture
for global public health. After months of combatting the COVID19
pandemic, there is hope for several successful vaccine candidates.
Beyond this crucial step, the path to recovery necessitates
expanded investment in the many health priorities that have been
compromised in recent months – from drops in vaccine coverage and
HIV treatment to delays in cancer treatment. The WHO Foundation
represents a unique new opportunity for everyone in the world to
play their part in tackling these challenges and in promoting
global health, through a strong and vibrant WHO. I’m thrilled to
be joining the Foundation at such a critical moment and look
forward to working with the Board to realize the Foundation’s
mission.”

To
help deliver on its ambitions, the Foundation has expanded its
board to include a globally representative group of experts
reflecting diverse perspectives from public, private and civil
society sectors. Chaired by Dr. Thomas Zeltner, the board includes
Clare Akamanzi; Bob Carter; Senait Fisseha, MD, JD; Dr. Silvia
Gold; Arun Jain; Nahed Mohammed Taher, PhD; and Rebecca Enonchong.

“Over the next three years, the WHO
Foundation aims to raise $1 billion to directly impact the health
of people around the world. That will change the face of what the
WHO can do for the world. The Foundation has been built on a
vision of the world where everyone invests in every life. We
believe global health is our collective responsibility, and we
want to give everyone the opportunity to contribute,” added Zeltner.

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