UNAIDS Executive Director To Step Down In June Following Independent Report Calling For Leadership Change

Associated Press: UNAIDS head to quit post early following scathing report
“The head of the U.N. agency focusing on AIDS said he would leave the job six months early, bowing to apparent pressure just a week after independent experts looking into sexual harassment blasted the ‘defective leadership’ at UNAIDS. At least one major donor reportedly threatened to halt its funding. Executive Director Michel Sidibé revealed his plans to leave in June at a UNAIDS board meeting Thursday, agency spokesman Mahesh Mahalingham said. Sidibé took up the job in 2009…” (Keaten, 12/13).

New York Times: Leader of U.N. AIDS Agency to Step Down After Damning Review
“…Critics believed the hard-hitting report left Mr. Sidibé little choice but to resign or, lacking that, left United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres few options but to fire him. In an email sent to the staff after the report came out, Mr. Sidibé acknowledged that he was the person most responsible for the organizational culture, but set out a five-point agenda for change and signaled his intention to continue leading. The UNAIDS governing board decided Thursday to set up a working group to oversee Mr. Sidibé’s proposed overhaul, deferring discussion of the experts’ report to a special meeting sometime before March…” (Cumming-Bruce, 12/13).

Science: Despite scathing harassment report, UNAIDS board gives agency head a reprieve for now
“…It’s too early to say, however, whether Sidibé’s job is safe until next summer. Sweden, UNAIDS’s second largest donor, announced earlier this week that it would freeze support for the agency until Sidibé leaves. Other donors — including the United States, the largest donor — have yet to take such a public stance…” (Cohen, 12/13).

Additional coverage of Sidibé’s announcement and the governing board meeting is available from Al Jazeera, Reuters, and Science.

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