World Obesity welcomes its new Chief Executive

The World Obesity Federation is pleased to announce the appointment of Johanna Ralston as Chief Executive starting in August. 

Johanna Ralston

Johanna has spent close to two decades working in global NCDs, most recently as CEO of the World Heart Federation and Vice Chair of the NCD Alliance, and spent 11 years as VP Global Strategies at the American Cancer Society, where she built and led the Society’s global capacity-building programmes in cancer and tobacco control in low- and middle-income countries. An alumna of Harvard Business School, Johanna has also studied public health at Harvard and Johns Hopkins. 

At WHF Johanna led the CVD community’s coordinated effort to elevate CVD on the global health agenda through the 2011 United Nations High Level Meeting on NCDs, the WHO Global Action Plan on NCDs, and the SDGs, and also oversaw changes to strategy and governance to strengthen funding and advocacy.   

Since January, Johanna has been an Executive in Residence and fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, writing and teaching on NCDs and global health security while also working on Sania Nishtar’s campaign for Director General of WHO, which concluded in May. 

“We are delighted to have Johanna join us at such an important time in our organization,” says World Obesity President Ian Caterson. “Obesity as a disease and a global health challenge is finally starting to get the attention it merits and the World Health Assembly has approved the Ending Childhood Obesity action plan. Johanna brings skills in advocacy and excellent networks in the NCD community that will benefit our shared goals of addressing, understanding and reducing obesity globally. Working with the committed staff of World Obesity, we look forward to an excellent and productive period for World Obesity and its vital mission.” 

Johanna is a citizen of Sweden and the United States and speaks fluent Swedish and English and intermediate French.