Ford Foundation President to Step Down in September

Mar 05, 2013, 13:00 ET from Ford Foundation

NEW YORK, March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ford Foundation president Luis A. Ubinas today announced his plan to leave the foundation in September of this year, completing a six-year tenure highlighted by operational achievements, financial acumen, and a commitment to serving the poorest and most marginalized people in the world.

Mr. Ubinas discussed his departure plans with the Board of Trustees during its February meeting, and a committee of the board has been established to oversee the selection of his successor.

"We are grateful to Luis for the leadership and skill he brought to the foundation during a critical period in its history," said Irene Hirano Inouye, chair of the foundation's Board of Trustees. "He led the organization through challenging economic times, and he will leave behind an institution that is even more focused in pursuit of its mission, operationally strong and efficient, and brimming with remarkable people and purpose."

"One of the hardest things for a leader is to know when to step down.  I believe it is when he has given as much as he can to the institution he leads," Ubinas said in a message to foundation staff today. "After a period of profound transformation, both in our society and at the Ford Foundation, that moment has come for me."

"I cannot emphasize enough the appreciation I have for all of you and for our Board for allowing me to take this journey with you," he told staff.  "It took courage on the part of the Board, and exceptional talent and faith from all of you, to accomplish what we have.  For our grantees, it took belief that the enduring values of our institution would emerge stronger than ever. I'm proud to say they have."

Appointed in September 2007, Ubinas was welcomed as a leader with valuable practical experience in the private sector and a focus on innovation.

In 2009, he guided the foundation through the global financial crisis.  Aided by the resiliency of foundation staff, he restructured costs in sustainable ways that enabled the foundation to permanently shift $25 million to grant making.  At the same time he directed an evolution of the foundation's investment strategy, allowing the nation's second-largest philanthropy to recover all the value lost in the market downturn.  And with the support of the operations team he updated the foundation's systems, operations, and ways of doing business.

Ubinas also encouraged fresh approaches to fulfilling the foundation's long-standing mission.  In the United States, he supported staff-led efforts to ramp up work on affordable homeownership and invested heavily in the economic and social renewal of cities. He also inspired the foundation's education team to zero-in on the innovative concept of expanded and redesigned learning time as transformative to education in America, and embraced investments in arts institutions in New York City and around the country as drivers of economic growth and as spaces for diverse voices.

Outside the United States, the foundation under Ubinas' leadership supported new programs on climate change, child marriage, and a deepening of the foundation's long commitment to human rights, democratic values, and inclusion in countries across Latin America, Africa and Asia.

"The foundation has been fortunate to have someone of Luis's business acumen and ability devote an important part of his career to a philanthropic institution such as Ford," Hirano Inouye said.  "He has led us to our next era of accomplishment, and we are grateful for his commitment to the foundation and its mission. Equally important, the board stands fully behind the foundation's staff and grantees, and we are committed to the continuity of their important work."

SOURCE Ford Foundation