The Rockefeller Foundation Names Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, Former USAID Administrator, as Next President
January 5, 2017
Widely respected leader committed to social justice and credited with garnering bipartisan support and building public-private partnerships for innovative efforts in support of communities throughout the developing world
New York –The Rockefeller Foundation today 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. 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.
As head of USAID, Dr. Shah 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. Those efforts and his work to transform and revitalize USAID earned him bipartisan accolades and support. 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. 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.
In addition to his work abroad, Shah created the National Institute for Food and Agriculture and served as Chief Scientist at the US Department of Agriculture and has previously served on the boards of the Seattle Public Library and the Seattle Community Colleges. 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.
Shah will be the first-ever Indian-American to serve as president of the foundation. Shah will start in his new role on March 1st, succeeding Dr. Judith Rodin who has served as president for nearly twelve years.
“The Board of Trustees couldn’t be more excited about the dynamism and experience that Raj Shah will bring to this great philanthropic institution,” said Dick Parsons, Board Chair. “Raj was the unanimous choice of the Trustees after a very competitive search process. Judith Rodin transformed The Rockefeller Foundation and positioned us as a global leader in innovative philanthropy. We can think of no better person than Raj Shah to lead the cutting-edge work of this institution going forward.”
“For over a century, The Rockefeller Foundation has been at the forefront of providing solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah. “I am honored 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.”
“I am thrilled to be passing the baton to Raj Shah,” said Dr. Judith Rodin, current president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “I have had the pleasure of working with Raj over many years: when he was at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as USAID Administrator and as a Rockefeller Foundation trustee. In all our collaborations I’ve seen his intelligence, his drive for high impact and his commitment to humanity. I know the next chapter of The Rockefeller Foundation will be bright with Raj Shah at the helm.”
DR. RAJIV J. SHAH
Dr. Shah brings over twenty years of experience in business, government, and philanthropy to his new role at The Rockefeller Foundation. Appointed as USAID Administrator by President Obama in 2009, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, Dr. Shah was charged with revolutionizing the $20 billion agency’s operations to provide greater assistance to pressing development challenges around the globe. By elevating the importance of innovation, promoting public-private partnerships, rethinking internal practices, and shifting how dollars were spent to deliver stronger results, Shah secured bipartisan support that enabled USAID to dramatically accelerate its work to end extreme poverty. Despite partisan gridlock on many issues, two significant Presidential priorities – Feed the Future and Power Africa – passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support and were signed into law by President Obama, and the Global Food Security Act is the second largest global development legislation after PEPFAR. Shah’s work delivered results for countries facing democratic transitions, post-conflict situations, and humanitarian crises, and is widely credited with providing life-saving access to food, health, and water for millions of children across the planet.
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. At the invitation of a bi-partisan group of congressional leaders, Dr. Shah delivered the keynote address of the National Prayer Breakfast in 2014.
When Dr. Shah left USAID in 2015, he continued to follow his passion for creating opportunities for communities to thrive in the developing world by founding Latitude Capital, a private equity firm focused on power and infrastructure projects in Africa and Asia.
Raised outside of Detroit, Michigan, 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. Currently, he is a Distinguished Fellow in Residence at Georgetown University and lives with his wife, Shivam Mallick Shah, and their three children in Washington DC.
Contact: Neill Coleman, The Rockefeller Foundation, 212-852-8340
About The Rockefeller Foundation. For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation pursues this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, The Rockefeller Foundation works at the intersection of four focus areas—advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities—to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot—or will not. To learn more, please visit www.rockefellerfoundation.org.