Rockefeller Foundation Picks Rajiv J. Shah, as President


(Agencies) Rajiv J. Shah, a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation, was asked about six months ago to join the committee that would select the foundation’s next president. He said no. Instead, Mr. Shah, who until recently had been the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, ultimately said he wanted to be considered for the post.
He got the job. On Thursday, the Rockefeller Foundation, one of the country’s largest and most influential philanthropies, will name Mr. Shah to succeed Judith Rodin, who has been president for 12 years.
The appointment will 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 organizations to contribute money and resources in tandem.
At 43, Mr. Shah will be the youngest person and the first Indian-American to lead the Rockefeller Foundation, which has gained stature in recent years through some prominent projects but has sometimes been criticized as being more interested in its publicity than its grantees. Founded in 1913 by the oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, the foundation says it has given away the equivalent of more than $17 billion in today’s dollars. Its first grant was to the American Red Cross, and it went on to play pivotal roles in establishing the field of public health, creating vaccines for yellow fever and malaria, and bringing agricultural advances to the developing world.