The Gavi vaccine alliance announced Tuesday that former European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso will become its new chair, as it works towards ensuring eventual COVID-19 jabs for poorer countries.
The former Portuguese prime minister -- currently the non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International (GSI) -- will take over the role in January.
"As we face the worst pandemic in over a century, the world needs Gavi now more than ever, both to ensure COVID-19 vaccines reach every country, rich and poor, and press ahead with its core mission to protect hundreds of millions of people from preventable diseases," Barroso said.
Geneva-based Gavi, a public-private partnership, helps vaccinate half the world's children against some of the deadliest diseases on the planet.
The Gavi board unanimously approved Barroso's appointment to the unpaid role, the 64-year-old having come through a field of 115 candidates.
Barroso was Portugal's prime minister from 2002 to 2004, then ran the European Commission -- the European Union's executive branch -- from 2004 to 2014.
He accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the commission in 2012.
Barroso has been in his role with London-based GSI, the US investment bank's largest subsidiary, since 2016.
Outgoing chair eyeing WTO
He takes over from Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, who took up the Gavi chair in 2016. Her term ends in December.
Okonjo-Iweala is one of five candidates left in the running to become the new head of the World Trade Organization.
Her country's first female finance and foreign minister, the 66-year-old had a 25-year career as a development economist at the World Bank, eventually becoming its number two.
Gavi announced Tuesday that up to 100 million additional doses of any eventual COVID-19 vaccines would be secured for delivery to poorer countries in 2021.
The announcement doubles the number of doses it has already secured from the Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by volume.
Gavi says it has helped vaccinate more than 822 million youngsters in the world's poorest countries since its inception in 2000.
The core partners in the alliance are the World Health Organization, The United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF, the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.