MAVA, Fondation pour la Nature, based in Gland, Switzerland, is a private foundation under Swiss law regulated by its statutes and by the Swiss Code. Our aim is to promote the protection and sustainable management of nature, biodiversity and natural resources.
The Board’s main role is to set our mission and strategy, to oversee effective implementation of the strategy and to ensure the foundation conducts its operations and manages its finances in accordance with best practice.
By statute, the Board comprises between three and nine members; currently we have nine. Luc Hoffmann retains a seat for life while members of his family – direct descendants or their spouses – retain a voting majority. André Hoffmann has been Board President since June 2010.
Members are elected for a maximum three-year period, renewable twice. An exception applies to Hoffmann family members, whose membership can be renewed without limit. Board membership is voluntary and unremunerated.
André Hoffmann | President
André Hoffmann grew up surrounded by nature in the Camargue, France. He studied economics at the University of St. Gallen and holds an MBA from INSEAD. In 1983, he stepped up from his role as board member at “Fondation Tour du Valat” to the position of acting head of administration at the “Station biologique de la Tour du Valat” in the Camargue. In 1985, he joined James Capel in London as an associate on the Continental Desk before working on European M&A. He then worked for Nestlé UK for three years before establishing a family office dealing with asset management and board directorships. He is non executive Vice President of Roche Holdings Ltd and of Givaudan SA. He chairs the board of Nemadi Advisors Ltd as well as Massellaz SA. He is also a board member of the following companies: Amazentis SA, Genentech Inc., Glyndebourne Productions Ltd. and Inovalon Inc.
In addition André Hoffmann serves on the board of the following charities: INSEAD, Fondation ProValat, Paul Sacher Stiftung, Fondation Corbillettes and the Fondation Dubois Ferriere-Dinu Lipatti. In his conservation work, he is Chairman of Fondation Internationale du Banc d’Arguin (FIBA) and of MAVA. He is also Vice-President of the Fondation Tour du Valat and of WWF International.
Luc Hoffmann | President Emeritus
Luc Hoffmann has worked to protect the environment, especially wetlands, since 1946. In addition to co-founding WWF and serving as its Vice-President until 1988, he also set up the Station biologique de la Tour du Valat in France’s Camargue region, a place renowned in Europe and the world. Along with fellow researchers at the Tour du Valat, he conducted the early studies of waterbird populations and wetland ecology. He served as Director of Wetlands International and Vice-President of IUCN and established the Fondation Internationale du Banc d’Arguin in West Africa. He was a key figure in the original fight to save Spain’s Coto Doñana and a driving force behind the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. An ardent ornithologist from early childhood, Luc Hoffmann secured a PhD in Biology and has authored more than 60 books and other publications on birds and their habitats. A rich account of his life and thinking on conservation is available in the French-language book Luc Hoffmann, l’homme qui s’obstine à préserver la Terre. Les Editions Phébus, ISBN : 9782752904584. German translation: Luc Hoffmann; Der Mitbegründer des WWF im Gespräch mit Jil Silberstein : Mit Leidenschaft für die Natur. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, ISBN – 10 : 3038237019, ISBS – 13: 978 – 3038237013.
Maja Hoffmann | Member
Maja Hoffmann spent her youth in the Camargue, France. She is now a contemporary art collector and a supporter and producer of international art, film, publishing and environmental projects. She is Founder of the LUMA Foundation, whose aim is to launch and produce cultural and art projects worldwide. LUMA supports a number of art-based international initiatives and institutional projects, such as Kunsthalle Zurich and Kunsthalle Basel, the Fotomuseum Winterthur, the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Venice Biennale and Artangel and the Serpentine Gallery in London. It is also involved in planning one of the major cultural sites in Europe, the Parc des Ateliers in Arles. Maja Hoffmann is also one of the founders of the “Association pour le cheval de Przewalski: TAKH”. Its main aim is to reintroduce the horses to Mongolia and to effect related activities, particularly cooperation with local nomadic herders.
Rosalie Hoffmann | Member
Rosalie Hoffmann became a member of the Panda club of WWF-UK in the late 60s when at school in Godalming, Surrey, UK. She studied Geography and Economics at Exeter University and went on to work for a venture capital company in the City, taught in Spain and worked for two publishing houses in London before moving to Switzerland in 1998. She is a co-founder of Fondation Hoffmann which supports educational and cultural projects. She is also Vice-Chair of the Board of the International School of Lausanne, and member of the Board of the Fondation de l’Hermitage and Fondation Corbillettes. Her interests include education, travel, nature, gardening.
Jonathan Knowles | Member
Until the end of 2009, Jonathan Knowles was Head of Group Research and Member of the Executive Committee at Roche. Prior to this he served for 10 years as Director of the Glaxo Institute in Geneva and as head of European Research for Glaxo Wellcome. He sits on several Boards including Caris Life Sciences, an international cutting-edge molecular diagnostics company, and Cancer Research UK, one of the world’s leading Cancer Research organisations. Dr Knowles attended Magdalen College School in Oxford and received a First Class Honours Degree in Molecular Ecology from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. He received his PhD in Genetics of Mitochondria with Professor G. H. Beale from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He holds a Distinguished Professorship in Personalized medicine at FIMM (Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland) at the University of Helsinki, was recently appointed Professor of Translational Medicine at EPFL in Switzerland, and is a Visiting chair at the University of Oxford. In addition, he serves as a member of international scientific advisory boards of Public Organisations.
He has a lifelong interest in ecology, and is particularly interested in helping to maintain biodiversity in aquatic and mountain environments.
Claude Martin | Member
Claude Martin joined WWF in the early 1970s, when he lived in Central India studying the ecology of the threatened barasingha deer, and later served as national park director in Ghana. In the 1980s he rose to Director of WWF Switzerland and served as Director General of WWF International from 1993-2005, where he initiated several new approaches in conservation and international partnerships. From 1995-2006, Dr Martin was a member of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) – a high-level advisory body to the Chinese Government. Since 2006, he has chaired the International Sustainability Innovation Council of Switzerland (ISIS) and serves currently as President of NATUR – the Swiss forum for sustainability. He is also Vice-chair of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and Chancellor of the International University in Geneva. He holds a PhD in wildlife biology from the University of Zurich.
Vera Michalski-Hoffmann | Member
Vera Michalski-Hoffmann spent most of her childhood in the Camargue, France. A publisher, she has devoted herself to the promotion of literature through the publishing group Libella she founded with her late husband Jan Michalski in 1986. They published a wide range of authors, in French and Polish translations, through Noir sur Blanc, Buchet-Chastel, Phébus and Wydawnictwo Literackie. In 2004, Vera Michalski created the Fondation Jan Michalski pour l’Ecriture et la Littérature to promote writing and to provide support for writers.
Vera Michalski-Hoffmann is one of the founding members of the Fondation Tour du Valat.
Hubert du Plessix | Treasurer
Hubert du Plessix is a lawyer by training whose career in banking has taken him to Geneva, London and Zurich. A specialist in institutional wealth management, he sits on the boards of several pension funds. He is currently the Director for Investments and Logistics and part of the management team at Rolex S.A., based in Geneva. He has been a passionate ornithologist all his life, collaborating on numerous research projects in Switzerland and abroad while also participating in various wetlands projects. He is President of Fondation Phragmites, a wetland conservation organisation in Vaud, Switzerland, which he set up in 2008.
Jean-Philippe Rochat | Member
Jean-Philippe Rochat is a lawyer and partner in the Lausanne law firm of Carrard & Associés, where he specializes in commercial and corporate law. He regularly advises public and private companies on corporate law issues. He is also involved in international arbitration proceedings on commercial issues. Jean-Philippe Rochat is a member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of several companies and foundations in Switzerland and abroad.
Jean-Philippe Rochat has a deep attachment to mountain environments and is a passionate mountain man, cooperating with different projects concerning sustainable development in such regions.
MAVA Board during field trip in the Engadin, Sept. 2011 (Maja Hoffmann is missing)
Large Banded Grasshopper (Arcyptera fusca)
Jonathan Knowles, Jean-Philippe Rochat and Rosalie Hoffmann inspecting the grasshopper
Around Ramosch, Engadin, East of Switzerland
Hubert du Plessix bird watching