On Tuesday, 10th January 2017, the Rockefeller Foundation announced the selection of Dr Rajiv J. Shah, the former Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and current member of the Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees, as its thirteenth president.
“The Board of Trustees couldn’t be more excited about the dynamism and experience that Raj Shah will bring to this great philanthropic institution. Raj was the unanimous choice of the Trustees after a very competitive search process,” said Dick Parsons, Board Chair of Rockefeller Foundation.
Shah will be the first-ever Indian-American to serve as president of the foundation. Shah who is expected to assume his new role on March 1st will be succeeding Dr Judith Rodin who served as president for nearly twelve years.
“I am honoured and inspired by the opportunity to build on this 103-year history of results and lasting impact. I look forward to charting a course for the Rockefeller Foundation to engage with partners to promote the well-being of humanity, and to take on the challenges of today and tomorrow both in the United States and around the world,” said Dr Rajiv J. Shah.
“I have had the pleasure of working with Raj over many years. In all our collaborations I’ve seen his intelligence, his drive for high impact and his commitment to humanity,” said Dr Judith Rodin, current president of the Rockefeller Foundation.
As the next president of the Rockefeller Foundation, Shah brings with him extensive experience in foreign affairs, global health, global development and humanitarian response. His experience as an investor in the private sector, as the founder of Latitude Capital, also gives Dr. Shah the perspective and experience required to forge durable private-public partnerships.
What you need to know about Shah
- Dr. Shah is a graduate of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the Wharton School of Business.
- Prior to his appointment at USAID, Shah served as Chief Scientist and Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics at the United States Department of Agriculture. He also served in a number of leadership roles at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he helped launch the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (a joint venture by the Gates and Rockefeller foundations) and the International Financing Facility for Immunization (credited with raising more than $5 billion for childhood immunizations worldwide) and where he supported the creation of the Global Development Program.
- As head of USAID, he led the response to some of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time, including the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014.
- In 2014, Dr. Shah delivered the keynote address at the National Prayer Breakfast to advance the idea that the United States could lead the world to end extreme poverty.
- Shah is best known for elevating international development in foreign policy, delivering results through public-private partnerships and the respect he earned working with counterpart governments from Afghanistan to Central America and with bipartisan leaders in the US Congress.
- In 2014, Shah established the United States Global Development Lab which brings together public and private sector partners to develop innovative solutions to a wide array of international challenges including water, health, food security, nutrition, energy and climate change. He also was responsible for comprehensive internal reform that impacted all parts of the agency, returning budget and policy oversight to USAID from the State Department and recruiting top talent from a variety of fields to the agency.
- He comes to the presidency with knowledge of the Rockefeller Foundation and its operations, having served on the Board of Trustees since March of 2015.