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Epidemic-fighting fund fires chief auditor as shake-up continues

GENEVA (Reuters) - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said on Thursday it had sacked its chief auditor after finding his performance "unsatisfactory", in the latest in a series of leadership changes at the Geneva-based organization.

The fund was due later on Thursday to name a new executive director to replace Michel Kazatchkine of France. Kazatchkine stepped down in January following criticism over misuse of funds and cuts in funding, prompting a management shake-up and appointments of new senior officials last week.

The decision to dismiss inspector general John Parsons, which was effective immediately, was based on a review by the board, an independent external peer review of the audit function and a report by the group's audit and ethics committee.

"The Board decision came after a careful review of his performance, which was found to be unsatisfactory," it said in a statement.

Gabriel Jaramillo, a former chairman and chief executive officer of Sovereign Bank, was appointed general manager for one year to "transform the organization" after Kazatchkine's departure.

The public-private organization has approved $22.9 billion in funding for more than 1,000 programs in 151 countries since it was set up a decade ago.

The group, which is recognized as the leader in the fight against the three epidemics, receives funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other groups.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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