As CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mark Suzman leads the organization in service of our vision – to help every person have the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life. Knowing that we cannot achieve that vision alone, Mark brings a deep commitment to building partnerships and ensuring that the culture of foundation directly enables the impact we aspire to have.
Being raised in apartheid South Africa instilled in Mark a desire to use the advantages afforded to him to help tackle injustice and inequality. He began his career doing that through journalism, writing for the Johannesburg Star and then the Financial Times, where he covered international trade policy, welfare reform, and political issues, including the historic 1994 election of Nelson Mandela. In 2000, Mark joined the United Nations, where he was part of the effort to implement the Millennium Development Goals under the leadership of then Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He held multiple positions at the UN over his six-year tenure, including senior advisor for policy and strategic communications in the Office of the Secretary-General, and policy director in the Office of the Administrator of the United Nations Development Program.
Mark joined the foundation in 2007 as director of Global Development Policy, Advocacy, and Special Initiatives. Prior to becoming CEO, Mark served as managing director of Country Offices, president of Global Policy and Advocacy, and chief strategy officer. In these roles, he built and oversaw the development of the foundation’s offices in India, China, Africa, and E Europe, and managed the foundation’s relationships with government, private philanthropists, and civil society. He also implemented a new system for how the foundation measures impact and manages tradeoffs across its strategic priorities.
Mark holds a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He earned his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Harvard University.