Dagfinn Høybråten, Secretary General, Norwegian Church Aid

Dagfinn Høybråten, Secretary General of the Norwegian Church Aid.

On today’s episode, The Brand Called You welcomes a very senior and respectful political leader from Norway, Mr. Dagfinn Høybråten. Mr. Høybråten is currently the Secretary General of the Norwegian Church Aid, a major humanitarian organisation.



On today’s episode, The Brand Called You welcomes a very senior and respectful political leader from Norway, Mr. Dagfinn Høybråten. Mr. Høybråten is currently the Secretary General of the Norwegian Church Aid, a major humanitarian organisation. He has been the Secretary General of The Nordic Council of Ministers, the Minister of Health, Labour and Social affairs. He has been the Chair of the GAVI board from 2011-2015. Mr. Høybråten is also the leader of the Christian Democratic Party, Norway. He is recognised and awarded globally and is extremely well known for the work that he has done.

In this conversation, Mr. Høybråten shares some of the major challenges he faced at GAVI ( Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation). He explains that getting the right people, recruiting new CEOs, mobilising stakeholders etc were some major issues. He believes that human dignity, transparency and integrity are the core values on which the organisation stands. GAVI has been one of the most powerful and important experiences in Mr. Høybråten’s life. 

Talking about the ESG values, he believes that leadership is strategic only if social and environmental aspects are balanced. Giving back to society should be a big goal for every organisation. 

“If you can leave some tangible results and if it’s really enhancing the lives of people and the way we run our societies, I think that’s success”

His views are commendable and his work is ethical. Mr. Høybråten has impacted many lives through his own unique way! 

#organization #knowledge #experience #wisdom #vaccination #politics


I have a broad executive leadership experience from local, national and international levels of public service. My political leadership experience from a national and regional level is crosscutting several sectors. I have led organizations with diverse fields of expertise, cultures, languages and traditions. As a leader I work strategically, focusing on goals and results, building the team and involving stakeholders in good processes. I am known to have high working capacity, ability to implement and to be analytic and solution-oriented in handling complex challenges and organizations. I am forward-looking, assessing both opportunities and risks and planning in multiple steps. Throughout my career I have taken a special interest in reforming and developing people and the organizational framework releasing the potential in both. I have extensive board leadership experience in leading and serving complex boards on a national as well as international level.

Executive leadership experience

Norwegian Church Aid: Secretary General (2019- ) of one of the major humanitarian development organizations in the Nordic region operation in more than 30 countries in priority areas as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), gender based violence (GBV) and peace. Responding to humanitarian crises as well as operating long term development programs. 

Nordic Council of Ministers:  Secretary General (2013-2019)  of the international organization of the five Nordic countries from 2013 until 2019. I was responsible for the central secretariat and for 12 Nordic institutions throughout the region serving Councils of Ministers from all major political fields. From 2014-17 I led a reform process of the NCM aiming at a more efficient, politically focused and internationally oriented NCM. The reform was subject to external evaluation and reported a success.

National Social Security Administration of Norway (Rikstrygdeverket):  Director General of the agency (1997-2001) with 800o employees in central, regional and local branch offices across the country. As DG I was responsible for the running of major national welfare, health and pension schemes. I was on leave from this position while I served as a Minister of Health.

Oppegård Municipality: Chief Executive Officer,(1994-96). As CEO I headed the entire civil service of this municipality south of Oslo with in total 1400 employees. I led a renewal process implementing new legislation for municipalities involving an extensive training program for all the leaders in the municipality.

National Association of Local Authorities: I was a part of the leadership team of this organization as a Chief of Staff (1988-89) and Executive Director for Municipal Policy Affairs (1990-93). As ED I had the responsibility of taking care of common interests of Norwegian municipalities and regions towards national authorities, leading a department of 50 people.

Political leadership experience

Christian Democratic Party of Norway: Party leader (2004-2011), Parliamentary leader (2005-2011) involving the leadership of the boards and executive committee of the party and its parliamentary group.

The Norwegian Parliament: Member of Parliament 2005-2013. 5. Vice President of Parliament (2011-2013).  Committee memberships: Committee for Scrutiny and Control (2005-2006), Foreign Affairs committee (2006-2013) which included being rapporteur for the development budget for Africa and for global health issues.

Nordic Council: President of the Parliamentary Council 2007. 

Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs: Minister (2004-2005). Main focus on reforming the national welfare and labor administration.

Ministry of Health: Minister (1997-2000 and 2001-2004) Key achievements were a national reform in the field of mental health, implementation of an extensive restructuring of the ownership and governance of hospitals and a new family doctor system. I had strong focus on public health strategies both reducing risk factors for ill health and health promotion. Were able to set and reach ambitious goals for reducing tobacco consumption. Introduced a total national ban on smoking in public places as one of the first worldwide. Norway eventually experienced the fastest decrease in smoking prevalence in OECD.

Ministry of Justice: Acting Minister, (February-march 1999)

Ministry of Finance: State secretary (1989-1990). Deputy ministerial responsibility for fiscal policy, customs and national planning.

Akershus regional assembly: As an elected member (1983-91), chair of the regional board for culture (1987-1991)

Ministry of Education: Personal advisor to the minister (1983-1986)

Young Christian Democrats of Norway: Chair, 1979-1981

Board leadership experience

In addition to having led sessions of Parliament, Cabinet meetings and party board meetings I have extensive experience in leading and serving in boards and serving them as an executive of the board.  This includes public boards e.g. being a member of the Board of Governors of Norway’s Central Bank (1991-1997), research institutions like Norwegian Institute of Hospital Research (1990-93) and the Shanghai –based Fudan Development Institute Board of International Advisors (2016-) as well as boards of private institutions like Lovisenberg School of Nursing (1992-93) and Modum Bad (2001) a private psychiatric hospital.

On the global level I joined the Board of the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in 2006. In 2010 I was elected Chair of the Gavi board and served in this position from 2011 throughout 2015. Since then I have served as a Special Gavi Envoy.

The board leadership at Gavi has been the most complex, but also most rewarding board role I have had. Governing Gavi involves working with a diverse group of stakeholders across the private-public partnership ensuring the development of best practice governance. I worked closely with CSOs, industry, research communities, UN agencies (WHO, UNICEF, World Bank) as well as donor and implementing countries leadership. During my tenure as chair, Gavi twice (in 2011 and 2015) mobilized resources exceeding our targets to fully finance its programs, totaling almost USD 12 billion. Gavi saw an unprecedented speed of vaccine introductions in this period, vaccinating nearly a quarter of children leading to almost 4 million future deaths averted. Gavi received the highest marks in several multilateral aid reviews for its results and efficiency as well as high score for transparency. 

In 2018 I was appointed Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the Norwegianization of Sami and Quen minorities. This is a parliamentary inquiry commission composed of experts from various areas reporting back to the Norwegian Parliament in 2022.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *