On Thursday, the Rockefeller Foundation, one of the largest and most influential philanthropies in the United States, was to name Rajiv J. Shah, a trustee as president. He was to succeed Judith Rodin, who has been holding the post for 12 years.
The appointment was to make Mr. Shah one of the most powerful forces in charitable giving, overseeing a foundation that donates roughly $200 million each year and corrals governments, companies and organisations to contribute money and resources in tandem. At 43, Mr. Shah is the youngest person and the first Indian-American to lead the Rockefeller Foundation.
Founded in 1913 by oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, the foundation says it has given away the equivalent of more than $17 billion in today’s dollars.
Much of the foundation’s work concerns improving health and well being in Africa, aiding economic development in impoverished areas and developing strategies to combat climate change.
It was these diverse causes that attracted Mr. Shah to the job. With advanced degrees in medicine and health finance from the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Shah worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for nearly a decade, rising to be director for agricultural development.
From 2009 to 2015, he ran USAID, leading the response to disasters including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. After leaving the agency, he founded Latitude Capital, a private equity firm focused on emerging markets. — New York Times News Service