Gary Brown Elected Chairman of Mercy Ships International Board of Directors


GARDEN VALLEY, TEXAS, JANUARY 9, 2023Mercy Ships, the global, faith-based healthcare charity that through a fleet of first-class hospital ships provides free surgeries and healthcare services to the world’s most disadvantaged peoples, today announced that Gary Brown was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mercy Ships International effective January 1, 2023.  

Gary Brown, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mercy Ships International

Brown, who has served on the Mercy Ships board since 2006, spent 42 years in the banking and securities industry, most recently as CEO of CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Limited. Previously he was head of CIBC’s business in the United States, as President and CEO of CIBC World Markets Corp, their US broker-dealer for nine years.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Oral Roberts University and has attended executive programs at the Salzburg Institute and Harvard Business School. Brown also serves on the board of trustees of Oral Roberts University. 

“Gary Brown was the only person nominated by the committee, a testament to our board’s unanimous confidence in his qualifications,” said Ruben Martin, head of the nominating committee and outgoing chairman. “We look forward to his leadership and his ability to keep moving the organization forward, especially in our season of growth as we operate a two-ship platform. We believe we’re poised to provide an even greater impact to the people of Africa.” 


Ruben Martin, head of the nominating committee and outgoing chairman.

Martin brought to Mercy Ships four decades of business leadership experience and a deep knowledge of global business operations, especially in the marine sector, and said that he felt truly honored to have served as Chairman of the Board. In total, he served 11 years on the International Board and will continue serving on the Mercy Ships Foundation Board. “I’m proud that the world’s largest and first purpose-built hospital ship was launched during my tenure and that it will begin surgeries in Africa early next year,” he said.  

Brown commented, “Ruben Martin fulfilled his intended two-year commitment, overseeing significant growth in the organization, the return of the Africa Mercy® after a challenging season due to COVID-19, and the launch of our newest vessel, the Global Mercy®. It is a privilege for me to assume leadership at the board level working with our Founder, Don Stephens, and CEO Gert van de Weerdhof as we continue the work of Mercy Ships in bringing hope and healing to those who need it most.”     

In 2023 Mercy Ships will provide ship-based care to three countries, Senegal, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone, while continuing ongoing partnerships with other countries in Africa.  



Mercy Ships operates hospital ships that deliver free surgeries and other healthcare services to those with little access to safe medical care. An international faith-based organization, Mercy Ships has focused entirely on partnering with African nations for the past three decades. Working with in-country partners, Mercy Ships also provides training to local healthcare professionals and supports the construction of in-country medical infrastructure to leave a lasting impact.    

Each year, more than 3,000 volunteer professionals from over 60 countries serve on board the world’s two largest non-governmental hospital ships, the Africa Mercy and the Global Mercy. Professionals such as surgeons, dentists, nurses, health trainers, cooks, and engineers dedicate their time and skills to accelerate access to safe surgical, obstetric, and anesthetic care. Mercy Ships was founded in 1978 and has offices in 16 countries as well as an Africa Service Center in Dakar, Senegal. For more information, visit and follow @MercyShips on social media.  


Laura Rebouché

U.S. National Media Relations Director

Mercy Ships 

[email protected]/press


Diane Rickard 

International Media Relations Manager 

Mercy Ships 

[email protected]