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.
We currently we have 10 Board members. Members of Luc Hoffmann’s 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 Chairman of Roche Holdings Ltd and chairs the board of 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 and the Fondation Dubois Ferriere-Dinu Lipatti. In his conservation work, he is President of MAVA and of the Fondation Tour du Valat. He is also Vice-President of WWF International.
Frederic Hoffmann | Member
Frederic Hoffmann’s interests lie where science and society meet. He holds a Bachelor degree in Geography and International Development Studies from McGill University in Montreal, where his research focussed on an ecosystem services approach to afforestation programmes in rural northern China. As an undergraduate, Frederic participated in a field research semester at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, in Panama, where he produced research on port expansion in protected areas neighbouring the Panama Canal. Very interested in environmental issues, Frederic has held intern or volunteer positions in a number of conservation organisations (RSPB, WWF International, WWF-Canada, Tour du Valat). He is currently undertaking an MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation at the London School of Economics. A keen sportsman, Frederic enjoys traveling and gardening.
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 in publishing 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 Chair of the Board of the International School of Lausanne, and member of the Board of the Fondation de l’Hermitage in Lausanne, and of the “Association pour le cheval de Przewalski: TAKH”. Her interests include education, travel, natural wild places, farming, 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.
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.
Mike Moser | Member
Inspired by Luc Hoffmann while doing his PhD in the wetlands of the Camargue, southern France, Mike’s passion and career has been in conservation. Mike held the post of Director of the international NGO IWRB / Wetlands International for 10 years. Keen to return to action on the ground, since 1999 he has supported landscape-scale conservation initiatives (wetlands, coastal, and forests) from Asia and the Middle East, to the Mediterranean and West Africa – for the UN Development Programme, international NGOs, conventions and others. Mike has served on the Boards of English Nature, the RSPB, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and Devon Wildlife Trust in the UK, the Tour du Valat Foundation in France and the Scientific Council of the Convention on Migratory Species. For seven years he chaired the UK’s first modern UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. In his spare time he manages a farm and County Wildlife Site in South West England, where he lives.
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 Kellerhals Carrard, 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.
Ibrahim Thiaw | Member
Ibrahim Thiaw took office in August 2013 as the Deputy Executive Director for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) upon his appointment by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Mr. Thiaw plays a critical role in the implementation of UNEP’s mandate and its Medium Term Strategy and Programme of Work, as well as catalyzing UNEP’s political engagement with governments and intergovernmental processes on the first and further sessions of the United Nations Environmental Assembly. Mr. Thiaw’s role also includes advancing the on-going internal performance and reform agenda.
Prior to his appointment as Deputy Executive Director Mr. Thiaw served as the Director of the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI) at UNEP. Before joining UNEP in 2007, Mr. Thiaw worked as the IUCN Regional Director for West Africa and later as the Acting Director-General of IUCN.
Mr. Thiaw started his career with the Ministry of Rural Development of Mauritania and holds an advanced degree in Forestry and Forest product techniques.
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