IFFIm Appoints Kenneth Lay as Chair of its Board of Directors

IFFIm Appoints Kenneth Lay as Chair of its Board of Directors

29 October 2020

Lay succeeds Cyrus Ardalan, who introduced CEPI programme and led successful replenishment raising over US$ 926 million.

Lay succeeds Cyrus Ardalan, who introduced CEPI programme and led successful replenishment raising over US$ 926 million

London, 29 October 2020 – The Board of Directors of the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) has selected Kenneth Lay, a former World Bank executive with extensive capital markets experience, as its next Chair. Mr Lay replaces Cyrus Ardalan, whose term as Chair expires on 1 January 2021.

A former Treasurer of The World Bank, a role he held prior to 2011 and during IFFIm’s founding, Mr Lay joins five other directors with extensive backgrounds in banking and international capital markets, as well as experience in supranational, government and development finance.

“IFFIm has been a gamechanger for innovative finance and health development,” said Mr Lay. “I am excited to join the Board and be part of the next era as IFFIm looks to provide flexible funding to meet Gavi’s needs, and also to frontload surge funding to address COVID-19.”

Mr Lay will take over as Chair from international banking executive Cyrus Ardalan, who served eight years on the IFFIm board, including three years as Board Chair. During his tenure as Chair (2018 to 2020), Mr Ardalan helped further strengthen IFFIm’s unique value and impact by spearheading the effort to facilitate IFFIm funding support to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, or CEPI. Mr Ardalan as Chair oversaw three Vaccine Bond issuances, including a 2020 issuance that raised NOK 2 billion in urgently needed funding for CEPI’s COVID-19 programme. Mr Ardalan also led IFFIm’s successful 2020 replenishment, which raised US$ 926 million in donor pledges, the largest one-time increase in resources since IFFIm's inception.

“Gavi is immensely grateful to Cyrus for his remarkable work on the IFFIm Board over the last eight years, and we have benefitted greatly from his wise guidance and diligent work as Board Chair,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. "As we say goodbye to Cyrus, we welcome Ken Lay to the IFFIm Board, and look forward to tapping his rich experience and passion for global health to lead IFFIm and support Gavi.”

“Ken has served in many roles across institutions and private sectors in areas where IFFIm is highly engaged. He understands IFFIm’s history and future potential from his time at the World Bank, during IFFIm’s founding,” said Mr Ardalan. “He is someone who thinks outside the box on how to finance initiatives to fund global public goods.”

Mr Lay joins IFFIm at a time of high demand for public and private investment in global health and vaccines. Established in 2006, IFFIm has, to date, received $6.8 billion in multi-year pledges, which it has used to back the issuance of Vaccine Bonds sold on capital markets to raise flexible, immediate funding for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Gavi’s programmes save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing use of vaccines in lower-income countries. IFFIm bonds have proven attractive to investors in institutional and retail markets, by offering a portfolio diversification opportunity and attractive returns in an award-winning socially responsible investment.

Mr Lay is currently Senior Managing Director of The Rock Creek Group, an asset management firm based in Washington, D.C., that manages globally diversified portfolios of public and private assets for major institutional investors. In addition to his responsibilities in the firm, Mr Lay works with international institutions, private foundations and NGOs seeking to develop new approaches to increasing the scale and reducing the cost of financing for humanitarian, environmental and other global priorities.

As Treasurer of The World Bank, Mr Lay and his colleagues managed more than $100 billion in investments for the Bank and other international financial institutions and for more than 40 of the World Bank’s member countries’ central banks, sovereign wealth and pension funds. He also led the World Bank Treasury’s banking and capital markets programmes as they delivered financing and risk management for the World Bank itself and introduced green bonds and catastrophe bonds to deepen the institution’s engagement in mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.

At other stages in his World Bank career, Mr Lay served as a country director in Latin America and Southeastern Europe. In an earlier stint in the World Bank Treasury, he conceived and led the issuance of the first “global bond,” which has become a principal vehicle for sovereign and supranational financing in international markets.

Before joining the World Bank, Mr Lay was an enforcement lawyer with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, where he headed the branch of corporation finance enforcement.

Mr Lay holds a BA from Dartmouth College, a JD from the George Washington University, the CFA designation and active membership in the State Bar of California. Since 1992, he has supervised his family’s ranch in Converse County, Wyoming.