The Rockefeller Foundation has announced the selection of Dr. Rajiv J Shah as their new president. He will be taking over from Dr. Judith Rodin who has served as president for over 12 years. Dr. Shah is a former Administrator of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and current member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Once he takes office on March 1st, he will be the 13th president of the foundation and also the first ever Indian American to serve as president.
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.
Dr. Shah was appointed to USAID back in 2009 where he was charged with revolutionizing the $20 billion agency’s operations to provide greater assistance to pressing development challenges around the globe. 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. Those efforts and his work to transform and revitalize USAID earned him bipartisan accolades and support. He also 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.