- Owner & CEO, Vestergaard
Mikkel Vestergaard is the CEO and owner of Vestergaard, a family owned global health company dedicated to improving the health of vulnerable people, especially those who live in developing countries. Mikkel is known internationally as a visionary leader who is willing to challenge the status quo and take risks when necessary to produce innovative solutions. He has structured the company around a humanitarian entrepreneurship business model where doing good is good business. This approach supports achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Vestergaard’s game-changing solutions contribute to a healthier, more sustainable planet by fighting diseases including malaria, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal disease and neglected tropical diseases. Additional company initiatives work to decrease hunger and malnutrition by enhancing food security. Vestergaard’s public health company is the largest global producer of long-lasting insecticidal bed nets. More than 1.5 billion people have benefited from PermaNet® bed nets, which have contributed to the reduction in deaths from malaria by more than one third over the past decade. Vestergaard’s water company produces the award-winning LifeStraw® water filter which was named “Best Invention of the Year” by Time magazine.
Mikkel continuously serves in leadership positions outside the company as well. He was an advisor to the prime minister of his native Denmark and was chosen to be a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. The Luhya tribe of western Kenya made Mikkel an elder, a rare and important honor for foreigners who have touched the lives of Kenyans in an extraordinary manner. He has served on the board of directors of the Roll Back Malaria partnership, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. He is a member of the NASA/USAID LAUNCH Council and serves on UN Women’s advisory board for Nordic countries.
For his contributions to humanitarian efforts, Mikkel has been honored with the Social and Economic Innovation Award from The Economist, was elected to the “Women Deliver 100” list of the most influential people contributing to the health of women and girls around the world, was celebrated at the Danish Hero Gala in Copenhagen, and was presented with the Saatchi & Saatchi Award for World Changing Ideas.