Admiral James Stavridis joined The Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees in 2018. He became Board Chair in June 2021.
A Florida native, Jim Stavridis attended the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, and spent over thirty years in the Navy, rising to the rank of 4-star Admiral. Among his many commands were four years as the 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, where he oversaw operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, the Balkans, and piracy off the coast of Africa. He also commanded US Southern Command in Miami, charged with military operations through Latin America for nearly three years. He was the longest-serving Combatant Commander in recent US history.
In the course of his career in the Navy, he served as senior military assistant to the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of Defense. He led the Navy’s premier operational think tank for innovation, Deep Blue, immediately after the 9/11 attacks.
He won the Battenberg Cup for commanding the top ship in the Atlantic Fleet and the Navy League John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational leadership, along with more than 50 US and international medals and decorations, including 28 from foreign nations. He also commanded a Destroyer Squadron and a Carrier Strike Group, both in combat.
In 2016, he was vetted for Vice President by Secretary Hillary Clinton, and subsequently invited to Trump Tower to discuss a cabinet position with President Donald Trump.
He earned a PhD from The Fletcher School at Tufts, winning the Gullion prize as outstanding student in his class in 1983, as well as academic honors from the National and Naval War Colleges as a distinguished student. He speaks Spanish and French.
Jim has published eight books on leadership, the oceans, maritime affairs, and Latin America, as well as hundreds of articles in leading journals. An active user of social networks, he has tens of thousands of connections on the social networks. His TED talk on 21st century security in 2012 has had over 700,000 views. He tweeted the end of combat operations in the Libyan NATO intervention. His memoir of the NATO years, “The Accidental Admiral,” was released in October 2014, and he has two books out in 2017: “The Leader’s Bookshelf: 50 Books That Make Us Better Leaders” in March and “Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the Oceans” in June.
Admiral Stavridis is also the Chair of the Board of the US Naval Institute, the professional association of the Nation’s sea services: Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine. He is a monthly columnist for TIME Magazine and Chief International Security Analyst for NBC News.
Jim served as Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy from 2013-2018. He is happily married to Laura, and they have two daughters – one working at Google and the other a Nurse Practitioner, both married to physicians.