Business – December 5, 2020
By: Nathaniel Ballantyne
Early Friday morning Patrick GASPARD, President of SOROS Open Society Foundations announced at an all-staff meeting that he will be stepping down at the end of the year, and Mark Malloch-Brown, former UN deputy secretary-general and UK minister of state and current member of Open Society’s Global Board, will succeed him, effective January 1.
GASPARD was the first Haitian American to serve as political director of the White House under Obama, and subsequently as U.S. ambassador to South Africa. GASPARD joined the Open Society Foundations in 2017 and during his three years at the helm of the foundations, he led the rapid response to the profound challenges presented by COVID-19, supporting domestic workers, caregivers, the undocumented, those in the informal and gig economies, and others left out and left behind by government policy.
Under his leadership, the Foundation offered protections for refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers, who face COVID-19’s many risks with virtually no structural support.
Following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, GASPARD led the Foundation response to the uprising in the United States and around the world as people from all walks of life took to the streets to protest police brutality and structural racism.
Because of his efforts, Open Society has invested more than $220 million in building power in Black communities, including $150 million in five-year, unrestricted grants to a set of organizations that helped to create and will continue to lead the drive toward racial equality, from veterans of the civil rights movement to emergent Black Lives Matter leaders of tomorrow.
GASPARD has worked tirelessly to counter populist narratives and authoritarian power grabs in the United States, Brazil, Hungary, the Philippines. He’s led the fight against disinformation and the foundation’s efforts to hold social media platforms accountable for the spread of lies and hate. He oversaw the launch of exciting new lines of work on climate change and economic justice, and strengthened SOROS commitment to culture and the arts.
Mark Malloch-Brown who will take over as President on January 1 is an experienced hand. He has served with distinction in government, in NGOs, in business, and in philanthropy, having been a longstanding member of the Foundation Global Board. He served as UN deputy secretary‐general and chief staff under Kofi Annan. Previously, he was administrator of the UN Development Program. He covered Africa and Asia as minister of state in the UK’s Foreign Office during Gordon Brown’s premiership. His other positions have included being a World Bank vice president. He began his career as a journalist at The Economist.
According to TrueNews sources inside Biden Transition team, GASPARD has been in discussions with members of the Biden transition team and will join the administration, though it is not yet clear whether GASPARD will have a cabinet level position or serve as a special envoy to the Middle East.