A letter from Michael Elliott, President and CEO of ONE

A letter from Michael Elliott, President and CEO of ONE


Dear Friends, Members and Supporters,

It is nearly five years since I joined ONE as CEO, and I feel very fortunate to have had a really good run in this challenging and rewarding position. But I have let Tom Freston, the Chairman of our Board, know that I have decided, for medical and personal reasons, that it is in the best interests of ONE for me to step down as CEO as soon as a successor is in place. Tom has accepted the notice of my resignation which will take effect when the new CEO starts, and has very generously asked me to stay on as a Senior Adviser to ONE and a member of the Board, which I will be delighted to do.

For the past two years, I’ve been living with cancer. Though I’m in the best possible hands and very confident in my doctors’ skills, I think it’s time that I looked forward to devoting more of my energy to my health. 

I’ve worked full-time for 10 organizations (I know…) and in four different lines of work in the last 42 years. But ONE has been the job that I have been most passionate about, and most proud to have done. I pinch myself every day at being so lucky to have the chance to take our mission forward and to work with such wonderful colleagues, from (RED)’s brick walls in the Garment District of New York to the big, blue sky of Johannesburg.

It’s a busy and rewarding time for us. I’m sort of insanely proud that I made this decision in the week that the Electrify Africa Act passed Congress.  My very first big speech for ONE – just a few weeks after I started – was at the University of Colorado on energy poverty, when the phrase was hardly known. Who knew what our staff and our  wonderful members could do? I certainly did not back then, but I have been constantly amazed since at their achievements, as ONE has chalked up advocacy win after win around the world, and (RED), which merged with ONE in 2012, has seen its cumulative contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria rise to more than $350 million.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Bono, to Tom, and to all the members of the best board in the world for the ceaseless and unstinting support they have given me; to our terrific staff; and to you, our more than seven million members and supporters. As I know from meeting many of you at events around the world, you’re amazing people, and we’re really lucky that you have chosen to help us in our mission.

That mission binds us together. This week especially, I am deeply grateful for friends and partners around the world, all engaged one way or another in meeting Nelson Mandela’s challenge on a cold day in Trafalgar Square in 2005: to be that “great generation” that can end extreme poverty once and for all.

I look forward to being closely associated with you, and with ONE and (RED), in the future.

Thanks for all that you have done to make this so extraordinary a ride.

Michael Elliott


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