People in the News (12/30/18): Appointments, Promotions, Obituaries

People in the News (12/30/18): Appointments, Promotions, Obituaries

The board of the Pittsburgh-based Richard King Mellon Foundation has announced that SAM REIMAN will succeed SCOTT IZZO as its director. In that role, Reiman, 40, will oversee the foundation’s grantmaking, strategy, and day-to-day operations. A former senior program director at the McCune Foundation and program officer at the Forbes Funds, Reiman, who began his career as a consultant for Deloitte’s public sector practice, has worked alongside Izzo for the past four years as the foundation’s associate director. Izzo, 66, joined the foundation twenty years ago and took over as director in 2005. He plans to remain on the foundation’s board and serve as a senior adviser to the organization.

The Strada Education Network in Indianapolis has announced that BEN WILDAVSKY will join the organization in early January as senior vice president for national engagement. A higher education scholar, Wildavsky will oversee the organization’s efforts to help individuals build more purposeful paths from education to employment. He previously served as senior fellow and executive director of the College Board Policy Center, where he helped lead that organization’s work to convene top experts in postsecondary education, create high-impact publications, and expand opportunity for today’s students, and began his career as a journalist at the San Francisco ChronicleNational Journal, and U.S. News & World Report, where he was national education correspondent and later education editor.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles has named CHRISTINE SIMMONS to the position of chief operating officer. Simmons, president and COO of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, will assume her new role in January, reporting directly to Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. Prior to becoming president and COO of the Sparks, Simmons served as executive vice president of Magic Johnson Enterprises, where she led the day-to-day operations of the team during its first season, and before that held senior positions managing and expanding supplier diversity at both Disney and NBC/Universal Studios.

In other news, the Smithsonian Institution has announced that DAVID SKORTON, its top executive, will be leaving the organization to become president and chief executive officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges, a nonprofit organization based in Washington that represents medical schools, teaching hospitals and other health care organizations. During his four-year tenure at the Smithsonian, Skorton, a cardiologist and former president of Cornell, oversaw the opening of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall, the completion of a $1.88 billion capital campaign, and a collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, a project that will give the Smithsonian its first permanent gallery abroad.

And ERIC HEITZ, a co-founder — with Hal Harvey and Tom Strand — of the Energy Foundation, has announced he is leaving the foundation at the end of the year to start a new environmentally focused firm, Tapeats Partners LLC. In a blog post announcing his decision, Heitz cited a number of milestones achieved since the foundation was established twenty-eight years ago: renewables are now the cheapest energy-generating source on the planet; China is the largest market and manufacturer for wind and solar; the global clean energy industry is approaching $400 billion per year in investment; and California — the globe's sixth largest economy — is on track for a 100 percent clean energy electric grid by 2045. Heitz closes his post with this: "We've shown…that a strategic intermediary, operating at scale and partnering with leading foundations and donors around the world, can accelerate change. Yet none of this matters until enough tons of carbon or methane are reduced, until enough coal plants are retired, until enough new wind turbines spin, or until voters, old and new, elect clean energy champions to leadership positions. We still have a long way to go and we have to move fast."

Natasha Lindstrom. "Richard King Mellon FoundationTaps Sam Reiman as New Day-to-Day Leader." Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 12/14/2018. "Ben Wildavsky Joins Strada Education Network Leadership Team as Senior Vice President National Engagement." Strada Education Network News Release 12/19/2018. "Academy Names Christine Simmons Chief Operating Officer. " Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Email 12/20/2018. Graham Bowley. "David J. Skorton Is Leaving the Smithsonian for a Health Care Nonprofit." New York Times. 12/20/2018. "Moving on From the Energy Foundation After 28 Years." Energy Foundation Blog Post 12/20/2018.