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European Society of Cardiology appoints Jean-François Riffaud as new CEO


Sophia Antipolis, France – 6 June 2023: The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) announces the appointment of Jean-François Riffaud as its new Chief Executive Officer. Mr Riffaud will replace Mrs Isabel Bardinet, who will retire after 18 years at the ESC.

Mr Riffaud is currently CEO of the French humanitarian NGO, ‘Action Contre la Faim’ (Action Against Hunger). He will be appointed ESC CEO Designate on 3 July 2023, with a subsequent handover period, and appointed ESC CEO on 1 September 2023. Mrs Isabel Bardinet will step down on 30 September.

Mr Riffaud has extensive experience working in humanitarian sectors, social business and philanthropy. Prior to joining ‘Action Contre La Faim’ in 2016 as Director of Communications and Development, he worked for UNESCO and the French Red Cross. He also participated in the creation of the French National Blood Service (Etablissement Français du Sang) and the complete restructuration of the sector in the early 2000s. Mr Riffaud sits on the Board of the Institute for Association and Foundation Leaders (Institut des Dirigeants d'Associations et Fondations) and ‘France Generosité’ – an association of fundraising organisations. 

ESC President, Professor Franz Weidinger said: “We are delighted to welcome Jean Francois as our new Chief Executive. Jean Francois is a dynamic, values-driven leader whose extensive experience working with humanitarian NGOs is a strong fit for the ESC, whose mission is to reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases for patients and for the society.”

Professor Weidinger added: “I take this opportunity to thank Isabel for all she has brought to the ESC over the last 18 years. Isabel has supported and guided her many Boards through exponential growth of their activities, making the ESC one of the leading medical societies in cardiovascular medicine. Her passion for the ESC, as well as the astute strategic leadership she brought to the table, leaves the ESC well positioned for success.” 

Mr Riffaud said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to lead the ESC. In medicine, like all other sectors, there is no longer a status quo. I look forward to leading the ESC in adapting not only to medical innovation, but also evolving societal values, digital transformation and the widening gaps and disparities in healthcare. These changes require agility, whilst maintaining rigorous standards and the provision of robust and trustworthy knowledge, education, and data.”



Notes to editor

ESC Press Office
Tel: +33 (0)489 872 075 

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Jean François Riffaud

Chief Executive Officer

Jean-François Riffaud is a recognised expert in public interest, social economy, humanitarian aid, and international development.

After initial experience at Radio France Internationale and two years at the French Embassy in Lebanon, Jean-François Riffaud took part in the creation of the Etablissement Français du Sang and the complete reorganisation of the blood transfusion sector in France in the early 2000. He successively held the positions of Chief of Staff to the Chairman, then Director of Communications and International Affairs.

At the French Red Cross, he was then appointed Director of Communications, Development, and Innovation, and became involved in responses to major humanitarian crises and the adaptation of the health and social sector.

After a year at UNESCO, Jean-François Riffaud joined Action Contre la Faim as Director of Communications and Resource Development, before becoming Chief Executive Officer in 2019. He steers the development of ACF, which has become the largest international humanitarian network fighting malnutrition and food insecurity, present in 55 countries and supporting more than 20 million people.

He joins the ESC as CEO as from July 2023.

Jean-François Riffaud is board member of IDAF and France générosités.

He holds a Master II in International Economic and Development Law (University of Paris V).


About the European Society of Cardiology

The ESC brings together health care professionals from more than 150 countries, working to advance cardiovascular medicine and help people to live longer, healthier lives.