Dr Marie Charles MD MIA FRGS FRSPH
"When I became a doctor, I never wanted to treat just one patient at a time, I wanted to treat entire nations."
Singapore Business Times
The Raffles Conversation Feature Article with Dr Marie Charles
Dr Marie Charles
Tiger Healthcare Global Holdings
Tiger Healthcare Group
Tiger Healthcare Private Equity
Tiger Environmental Technologies
Doctor of Medicine
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Masters Degree in International Relations
Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)
|The Royal Society of Medicine|
|The Royal Society for Public Health|
|The Royal Society for Tropical Medicine & Hygiene|
|The Royal Geographical Society|
Henry Crown Fellow
|The Aspen Institute|
|The Royal College of Physicians|
|The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh|
|The International Institute of Strategic Studies|
Dr Marie Charles is a medical doctor and one of the world's most successful high-impact entrepreneurs with a highly distinguished background in international business, finance and international relations. She is widely regarded as a key global innovator in the fields of healthcare, finance, energy and the environment.
Initially groomed to run one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies in Europe, Dr. Charles chose instead to found a series of her own international enterprises, all of which have gone on to become global leaders in their respective fields, collectively active in over 42 countries. She has more than 20 years experience founding, managing and growing multinational companies and organisations.
Dr Charles is the Executive Chair of Tiger Global Holdings, Chair and Managing General Partner of the Tiger Healthcare Group and of Tiger Healthcare Private Equity, and Executive Chair of Tiger Environmental Technologies.
The Tiger Group is a private Hong Kong-based consortium which specialises in high-yield, high-impact disruptive healthcare, energy, environmental and financial transactions in the world's fastest-growing economies.
This involves, amongst other activities, the vertical envelopment of targeted national healthcare, environmental and energy transactions in ultra-opportunity commercial consumer markets across Asia and other geographies, as well as transactions that result in a convergence of human and planetary health. Its investment activities include national private healthcare delivery platforms, health insurance, health assurance, women's health, IT, pharmaceuticals, healthcare financial services, unitisation programmes, diagnostic technologies, IPR and CRO.
As a founding industry practitioner, innovator and acknowledged global authority on high-yield, high-impact investing, and in recognition of her leading role in redefining disruptive healthcare, environmental and energy investing and profitability in the global private equity industry, Carl Magazine Asia on its cover and feature article calls her the "Joan of Arc of 21st Century Medicine", The Singapore Business Times describes her as "a doctor without borders" and "one of the key innovators in global healthcare", Belane Magazine in Switzerland writes that she is "one of the world's most successful high-impact entrepreneurs", The South China Morning Post in Hong Kong states that in terms of global health, her record clearly shows that she "is all about getting things done", The Economist Magazine in London references her work in a private equity issue, and she is a designated Wall Street Journal "Woman of Note".
As such, Dr Charles also serves as an expert advisor to the European Commission's Executive Agency for SME's (EASME) to assess and evaluate financing proposals for breakthough innovation investments on behalf of the European Innovation Council (EIC) in the fields of high-impact investing, private equity, corporate finance, innovation & disruptive business systems, entrepreneurship, business leadership, planetary health, global health, public health policy & services, social enterprises, energy efficiency & renewable energy, corporate social responsibility, and the environment.
She is also a business angel in the Hong Kong high-impact disruptive investment market.
Additionally Dr Marie Charles is the Founder and Chair Emeritus of the internationally renowned social enterprise Global Medic Force (GMF).
As the global leader in clinical skills rapid transfer to emerging nations, GMF deploys over 2,150 specially recruited and highly trained volunteer medical experts from over 18 Western nations, to train tens of thousands of healthcare workers in developing nations across 4 continents, including in disaster zones, war zones, conflict zones and pandemics regardless of how remote, hostile and demanding the local conditions.
This medical volunteer resource collectively represents more than 30,000 years of clinical expertise, or USD $8 billion in medical human capital transfer value.
GMF’s highly qualified medical volunteers are considered the top experts in their respective fields and include, amongst others, heads of departments, professors, private practice physicians, hospital physicians, specialists, consultants, and personal physicians to Her Majesty The Queen, all of whom are carefully recruited from the very best academic and medical institutions in the Western world, including Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, Oxford University, Cambridge University, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Yale University, Weill Cornell Medical School, University of California Los Angeles, University of California San Francisco, Brown University, Duke University, University of Toronto, Tan Tock Seng Hospital Singapore, University of Edinburgh, Chelsea Westminster Hospital London, Stanford University, Baylor College of Medicine, New York Presbyterian Hospital and many others.
For over 15 years, Global Medic Force has set the international standard by which all others in the global healthcare space are judged. There is no government on earth that possesses a volunteer medical resource equal to that created by Dr Marie Charles, and as such she has also been credited with having saved millions of lives throughout the developing world.
Early life & education
Dr Marie Charles was born in Belgium, the eldest of 6 children. Her late father was Professor Emeritus of the Department of Applied Sciences, as well as of the Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT) at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. He also served frequently as a visiting professor at MIT, Peking University, UC Berkeley, amongst many others.
While growing up, Dr Charles initially studied the piano and violin whilst performing extensively both nationally and internationally with the highly acclaimed national Belgian Choir, Cappella Concinite, throughout the 1970's and 1980's. The choir performed in many of the most notable venues across Europe, including the Vatican and for numerous Royal Families, as well as on Belgian national radio and Belgian national television. During her time with Cappella Concinite, she performed as a soprano in the following successful record album releases:
Upon graduating from an exclusive private boarding school for girls, Dr Charles was accepted to study medicine at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven). Established in 1425, KU Leuven is one of the oldest universities in the world and consistently ranks as #1 in Europe for innovation ahead of Imperial College (2nd) and Cambridge University (3rd) and is ranked #5 globally.
For the duration of her time as a medical student at KU Leuven, she was also selected by the university to be employed as one of the elite Hostgroep official representatives for visiting world leaders and foreign dignitaries.
Dr Marie Charles received her Doctor of Medicine (MD) at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, before subsequently obtaining a Masters in International Relations (MIA) from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), in New York City, where she became fluent in English as her 6th language.
In 1992, as a qualified Doctor of Medicine with a post-graduate degree in International Relations (with concentrations in international law and international business), Dr Marie Charles was recruited by Merck & Co, at the time the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, to join its executive fast track programme at its global headquarters in the US, where she was groomed for a senior international executive leadership position in the company.
In 1997 she moved to Asia residing during this time in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
In the late 1990’s, Dr Charles became chief operating officer at the International Antiviral Therapy Evaluation Centre (IATEC) at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where she oversaw research teams conducting clinical trials on new drug therapies for infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, in developing countries across Africa and Asia. At the time these countries were “front line states” in the battle against infectious diseases and HIV/AIDS.
After witnessing the lack of adequate healthcare system infrastructure in these countries, the local healthcare workers’ lack of practical training in accurate diagnosis and the administration of appropriate treatment, and realising that by focusing on the private sector first, a structured solution would start to fix the problems, she founded PharmAccess International having invited two of her colleagues at the University of Amsterdam into her venture. On a commercial basis, PharmAccess International developed healthcare infrastructure solutions for multinationals operating across Africa, resulting in access to quality healthcare and optimised infectious disease treatment for their employees.
In late 2001, following the commercial success of the PharmAccess International initiative, Dr Marie Charles sold her equity interests and founded the International Centre for Equal Healthcare Access (ICEHA) to further expand access to quality healthcare and treatment for infectious diseases in developing nations beyond the private sector. Its healthcare systems' optimisation programmes were designed to reach the majority of the population of the countries in which ICEHA operated. Its first engagement, in early 2002, was by invitation of the government of Vietnam.
In 2009, ICEHA was rebranded as Global Medic Force which, with operational directorates in Europe, the USA and Asia, further expanded globally to 2,150 volunteer expert physicians from 18 Western nations specialising in healthcare system building and clinical skills rapid transfer to developing nations across 4 continents. The organisation operates as a social enterprise. Its goal is to significantly reduce the dependency on aid from the developed world, while simultaneously saving millions of lives by training local medical professionals to optimally treat their own patients within their existing medical resource limitations. This involves the transference of a USD $8 billion value in medical human capital, or 30,000 years of the highest quality Western medical expertise, directly to healthcare workers throughout the developing world.
In her capacity as Founder & Managing Director of PharmAccess International, and as Founder & Chair of Global Medic Force, Dr Marie Charles has deployed for almost 20 years to many of the most remote, inaccessible and often hostile regions across 4 continents, including isolated and rural areas of Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Kiribati, Thailand, Nepal, South Africa, Surinam, Burundi, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Philippines, Botswana, Lesotho, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Honduras, Congo Brazzaville, Uganda and many others.
Under Dr Charles' leadership, GMF's sponsors, project partners and financial partners include many of the world's largest international governmental bodies, financial institutions, foundations and corporates active in the global healthcare space including the World Health Organisation, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Morgan Stanley, UBS, JP Morgan, Elton John AIDS Foundation, J&J Foundation, Merck & Co, Tibotec Corporation, Gilead, Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer, AmFAR, Centers for Disease Control Atlanta (CDC), USAID, PEPFAR, Family Health International (FHI), Care International, Infectious Disease Society of America, Elisabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, American Academy of Pediatrics, Rufford Foundation, William A Haseltine Foundation, Clinton Foundation, PATH, Heineken Breweries etc
In 2009, Dr Marie Charles founded the Tiger group in Hong Kong to focus on disruptive high-impact healthcare, energy, environmental and financial investments in the world’s fastest growing economies. The international financial press states that “Tiger Healthcare under Dr Marie Charles has become one of the leading closed high-yield, high-impact private equity investment groups in the world”.
In common with Mark Zuckerberg’s ubiquitous grey T shirts and hoodies, Charles Saatchi’s uniform of 12 identical black Paul Smith suits, and Steve Job’s renowned black turtleneck sweaters, Dr Marie Charles possesses a daily work wardrobe with over 20 identical, signature, black, bespoke, classic designer dresses, which are of her own design.
Dr Marie Charles' work is regularly featured and referenced in the international media. This includes in bestselling and award winning industry defining books such as The New Humanitarians (Praeger) and One World Health (CRC), and in feature news articles and interviews including in The South China Morning Post, The Singapore Business Times, The Boston Herald, The Economist, Carl Magazine Asia, Belane Magazine (series), Carl Magazine Britain, amongst others.
She has also extensively published in numerous international professional medical journals including the American Journal of Medicine, and has been the subject of television and radio documentaries including for the BBC and PBS network.
Additionally she is a regular columnist on high-yield, high-impact investing in one of the most affluential magazines in Europe.
Brief selection of feature television, radio, news and media interviews with Dr Marie Charles
Brief selection of news, media, magazines, journals, books and periodicals featuring the work of Dr Marie Charles
Selection of BBC interview topic sheets with Dr Marie Charles on her global philanthropy
In February 2003, she was deployed in a remote rural location on the Vietnamese border with China, which both the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared was the epicentre of the SARS epidemic outbreak. Although working in hyper-contagious, isolated agrarian conditions where people co-habited with their animals and where the local pharmacy was little more than a herb garden at the back of a hut, she refused to follow WHO and CDC directives to abandon her work and evacuate. She and her fellow GMF volunteer medical experts stayed in place at the epicentre to continue their work.
In May 2003, travelling from the Liberian border to Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire, Dr Charles was kidnapped by FN rebels opposing President Gbagbo’s government. Her release was secured by individuals loyal to the National Army Chief of Staff, Phillippe Mangou, who was assassinated shortly after.
Of all of the challenging and hostile locations that Dr Marie Charles has deployed to over the past 20 years, including war zones, conflict zones, and disaster zones across 4 continents, few places are as memorable as Kasensero Landing in Uganda on the border with Tanzania. Being the rumoured birth place of AIDS in Africa, its river had once been clogged by the corpses of the Rwanda and Burundi genocides. Near universal poverty, sickness, crime and drug addiction made Kasensero Landing seem like the end of the world, and for the 40% of the population infected with HIV/AIDS and almost universal malaria, for many it was. Naturally, there was a cover charge to get in.
In 2001, escorted by security forces among decaying corpses littering the streets in 40C heat and 100% humidity Dr Marie Charles was hosted to a surreal meeting.
When on deployment in the most remote and inaccessible parts of rural Asia and Africa, one is humbled and very appreciative to accept local hospitality as a matter of course, sharing the generosity of people who have almost nothing. One goat can be the entire wealth of a village. And over the last 20 years with various indigenous cultures that hospitality for Dr Marie Charles has also extended to sharing crocodile, zebra, snake, eyeballs, larvae, cockroaches, insects and turtles.
Dr Marie Charles believes that the only thing more surreal than being robbed at gun point by AK47 wielding Maoist “freedom fighters” in the high Himalayas, is that they have the courtesy and very good manners to issue an actual receipt for the stolen money, redeemable (in the unlikely event) they manage to take control of the government.
Sliding helplessly (in slow motion, up to her neck and in her best business dress) from a boat destabilized by obese foreigners, into a sea of floating human effluence in the Tonle Sap river in Cambodia, in front of esteemed medical colleague volunteers from all over the world, provides an excellent opportunity to hone one’s leadership skills.
Vietnam is one of the first countries to which Global Medic Force deployed. In 2007 Dr Charles received a summons from the Vietnamese Government to fly immediately to Ha Noi. On arrival she was taken to the National Assembly to receive the Vietnamese National Medal of Honour from the President of Vietnam for having saved more lives in Vietnam than any other physician.
A little practical local knowledge coupled with audacity and ingenuity, can engineer a completely sustainable transformation in the wealth, health, and quality of life for remote tribes living in subsistence circumstances, no matter how many landmines surround one's village hut.
International keynote speaking
As part of her ongoing professional commitments, Dr Marie Charles is regularly featured at many of the world’s most highly regarded international healthcare, private equity, investment, entrepreneurship, and leadership conferences, including specialised closed presentation sessions.
Brief selection of recent keynote presentations by Dr Marie Charles
- Credit Suisse Global Investment Forum - Singapore
- Follow The Entrepreneur Summit - London
- Annual Asian Private Equity and Venture Capital Forum - Plenary Address - Singapore
- TBLI Europe - Amsterdam
- TBLI Nordic - Oslo
- Zurich Family Office Investment Forum - Zurich
- Bird & Bird Healthcare Investment Conference - Hong Kong
- Skoll World Forum - Oxford University
- IFC - Washington DC
- Wellcome Trust - London
- PYMWYMIC - Amsterdam
- Temasek - Singapore
- PGGM - Amsterdam
- J&J Foundation - US
- Harvard University - Boston
- Columbia University - New York
- Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health - Baltimore
- Yale University - New Haven, Connecticut
- University of California (UCSF) - San Francisco
- University of California (UCLA) - Los Angeles
- Brown University - Providence, Rhode Island
- Duke University - Durham, North Carolina
- Social Venture Network - California
- Renaissance Weekends Group - California, South Carolina, Canada
- Aspen Institute - Aspen
- Global Philanthropy Forum - Washington DC, & California
- PEPFAR - Washington DC
- United Nations - New York
- Global Health Council - Washington DC
- Royal Geographical Society - London
- Geneva Health Forum - Geneva
- World Health Organization - New York
- USAID - Washington DC
- Infectious Disease Society of America Annual Conference - Washington DC
- American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and Traveller’s Health Annual Conference - San Francisco
- House of Lords - private session - London
- Aspen Institute Global Health Forum - Aspen
- International AIDS Society Annual Conference - Rio de Janeiro
- Family Health International - Ho Chi Minh City
- Central Committee for Science and Education (CCSE) Vietnam - Hanoi
- NHS - London
- The Albert Einstein College of Medicine - New York
- University of Southern California - California
- JP Morgan Chase - New York
- ASHOKA - Washington DC
- PATH Global Health - Seattle
- The London School of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene - London
- The American Academy of Paediatrics - New York
- The National Defense Academy of Vietnam - Hanoi
- Cornell University - New York
Academic and university posts held
International achievements and awards
In recognition of her contribution to global healthcare, leadership and entrepreneurship, Dr Marie Charles has received numerous international accolades and awards.
This includes amongst others, being appointed as a Henry Crown Fellow for the Aspen Institute, which selects the top 20 outstanding entrepreneurial leaders each year, to undergo a rigorous two year develop programme in order to meet the challenges of business leadership in the 21st century, through a lifelong commitment to honour, integrity, industry and philanthropy.
However, the award that is most dear to her heart is Vietnam’s National Medal of Honour, presented by the President of Vietnam at the opening of the National Assembly in 2007 in Ha Noi, for having saved more lives in Vietnam than any other physician.
Dr Marie Charles is actively involved with a number of professional medical, economic and international relations bodies:
Her personal interests include:
Classic aviation, specifically World War 1 and World War 2 vintage combat fighter aircraft
Expedition diving as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and medical doctor. She is a qualified Closed Circuit Rebreather (CCR) Technical Diver, Master Diver, Emergency First Responder Diver, Rescue Diver, Deep Diver and Enriched Air/Nitrox Diver
Ongoing global community engagement as an international business leader, angel investor and philanthropist
Short selection of open source links Dr Marie Charles
- PBS Television documentary Dr Marie Charles
- Royal Geographical Society 21st Century Challenges Series: Global Health lecture Dr Marie Charles
- BBC Radio 4 interview Dr Marie Charles
- Credit Suisse Global Philanthropy & Investment Forum keynote speaker Dr Marie Charles
- Belane Magazine - Switzerland feature interview Dr Marie Charles
- Singapore Business Times feature interview Dr Marie Charles
- South China Morning Post - Hong Kong feature interview Dr Marie Charles (with video link)
- Belane Magazine - Switzerland follow up feature interview "Ground Zero SARS Epidemic" Dr Marie Charles
- Speaker Connect - Asia's Leading International Speaking Bureau - Dr Marie Charles MD MIA FRGS FRSPH
- Private Healthcare Investor Conference - New York keynote speaker Dr Marie Charles
- Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health keynote speaker Dr Marie Charles
- Follow the Entrepreneur Conference - London keynote speaker Dr Marie Charles
- Zurich Family Office Investment Forum keynote speaker Dr Marie Charles
- Asian Private Equity & Venture Capital Forum Annual Conference - Plenary Address Dr Marie Charles - the Tiger group
- A-Speakers International Speakers Bureau - Dr Marie Charles MD MIA FRGS FRSPH
- TBLI Conference Nordic keynote speaker Dr Marie Charles
- TBLI Conference Europe keynote speaker Dr Marie Charles
- Responsible Investment Banking keynote speaker Dr Marie Charles
- Global Medic Force
- Private Healthcare Investor Conference - New York keynote speaker Dr Marie Charles
- One World Health: An Overview of Global Health (Lord Nigel Crisp) interview Dr Marie Charles
- The New Humanitarians: Inspiration Innovations, and Blueprints for Visionaries. Chapter dedicated to the work of Dr Marie Charles: "Defeating the Developing World's Dependence on Perpetual Western Charity in the Field of Healthcare"
- Global Giving: Dr Marie Charles discusses global health issues freeing the third world from charity reliance
- Royal Geographical Society 21st Century Challenges Series: Dr Marie Charles (with video link)
- Asia One Health republished interview Dr Marie Charles
- Champions Motivational Speakers Dr Marie Charles MD MIA FRGS FRSPH
- Earth Torch Dr Marie Charles
- Bird & Bird Healthcare in China Big Risk, Big Business (Hong Kong) Dr Marie Charles
- Royal Geographical Society 21st Century Challenges. Global health overview in the 21st Century Dr Marie Charles
- Health Asia One interview Dr Marie Charles
- Ponytail Journal Michel Obama, Dr Marie Charles, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge
- Asia Breaking News Dr Marie Charles
- Royal Geographical Society informed discussion global health Dr Marie Charles
- A-Speakers Inspiration Interview Dr Marie Charles MD MIA FRGS FRSPH
- Business & Technology interview Dr Marie Charles
- TBLI Nordic Conference Roundtable Part 2 Dr Marie Charles
- A-Speakers Blog Dr Marie Charles Lessons From The Front Line of Life