The Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, has named Dr Muhammad Ali Pate as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The appointment was approved by the Board of Gavi after a year-long recruitment process, and Dr Pate will take on the role as of August 3, 2023, succeeding Dr Seth Berkley who will step down after 12 years as the head of the Alliance.
Dr Pate brings extensive experience in global health to the role, including his time as Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health, where he led a critical initiative to revive routine vaccinations and primary health care in the country. He has also served as Global Director for Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank, leading the bank’s $18 billion COVID-19 global health response. Currently, Dr Pate is a Julio Frenk Professor of Public Health Leadership at Harvard Chan School of Public Health, and has served on various health-focused boards and expert panels in both public and private sectors.
In a statement, Chair of the Gavi Board, Professor José Manuel Barroso said, “Dr Muhammad Ali Pate stood out in a field of world-class candidates. With his knowledge and experience of both national immunization programming and international emergency response and global finance, I am confident that Gavi will continue to build on its vision and mission, as well as navigate the many challenges and opportunities we will face.”
Dr Pate expressed his honor in joining Gavi, saying, “I’m deeply honored to be joining Gavi as its incoming CEO. Gavi is one of the most impactful organizations in global health, and it will be my privilege to lead it, building on the work of Dr Seth Berkley, and continue to support countries to scale up critical routine immunisation programs, reach more zero-dose children, expand access to new vaccines, transform primary health care systems, and help fight outbreaks and future pandemics.”
Outgoing CEO, Dr Seth Berkley, has been with Gavi for over half of its existence, leading the organization through numerous global health initiatives, including the establishment of COVAX during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under his leadership, the Alliance has averted 11.8 million future deaths and helped immunize more than 676 million children, adding new vaccines to its portfolio, including for HPV, polio, cholera, and malaria.
Commenting on Dr Pate’s appointment, Dr Berkley said, “Leading Gavi and helping the Alliance to continually surpass itself in terms of saving lives, protecting children, and supporting countries during global health emergencies has been the greatest honor of my career. I am confident in its future under Muhammad’s leadership.”
Dr Berkley will continue to serve as CEO until August 2, 2023, working closely with incoming CEO Dr Pate to ensure a smooth transition.