As CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mark Suzman leads the organization in service of our mission – to help every person have the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life. Knowing that we cannot achieve that mission alone, he brings a deep commitment to building partnerships and ensuring that the culture of the foundation directly enables the impact we aspire to have.
Mark's upbringing in apartheid South Africa instilled in him 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, he 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 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.
See articles by Mark Suzman
More about the foundation
Learn about the origins of the foundation and the values that drive our work.
Learn about where we work around the globe and the programs we've created to address urgent issues in global health, global development, and education.
Read the latest stories, research, and news from across the foundation and subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Optimist.