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Global Innovation Fund announces Alix Zwane as Chief Executive Officer

Posted 30th July 2015

The Global Innovation Fund is announcing that Alix Peterson Zwane has been appointed CEO, effective August 3, 2015. The Global Innovation Fund is a $200 million joint initiative of the international development departments of the UKUSAustraliaSweden, and of the Omidyar Network. The fund provides support for the development, rigorous testing, and scaling of cost-effective innovations targeted at improving the lives of the poorest people in developing countries.

Alix joins the fund from Evidence Action, a US-headquartered non-profit where she served as Executive Director and a member of the Board of Directors. Evidence Action develops business models to help translate rigorous research into impact at large scale. A social entrepreneur and public health expert, Alix has also served as Senior Program Officer in the Global Development group at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, taking a lead role on strategy development for the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene team and setting the team’s evaluation policy and associated investment plan. Her stint in philanthropy was preceded by experience in both the private sector and academia. Alix holds a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University and has published widely in environmental and development economics journals.

Russell Siegelman, the Board Chair said:

“Alix has a unique combination of skills and experience that match incredibly well with our vision for the Global Innovation Fund.  She has a deep appreciation for the use of rigorous evidence in deciding whether development innovations are effective. She has experience as a strategic donor and also as a grantee that has been highly effective in executing programmes.  She understands the practical realities of bringing ideas to impact at scale. We are excited to have her vision and talent to bring the vision of the Global Innovation Fund to reality”.

Incoming CEO, Alix Zwane comments:

“I have spent over 15 years working to make global development aid and philanthropy investments cost-effective and evidence-based. The Global Innovation Fund is an important new effort in this regard and I am excited and honoured to be part of the next phase of its development.”

Alix will succeed Jeffrey Brown, Global Innovation Fund’s interim CEO who has ably run the Global Innovation Fund since its launch in 2014 and has successfully grown the organisation over its first formative year.