Smithsonian Chancellor Names Albert Horvath Acting Secretary

October 30, 2014
News Release
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Smithsonian Chancellor John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States, has appointed senior Smithsonian official Albert G. Horvath to be Acting Secretary of the Smithsonian. Horvath will serve in the top leadership position from Jan. 1 through June 30, 2015, after retiring Secretary Wayne Clough departs at the end of December and before incoming Secretary David Skorton arrives July 1, 2015.

Horvath has been the Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for Finance and Administration and chief financial officer since 2011. He manages major administrative units, including facilities and maintenance, human resources, security, capital projects/construction, information technology and financial operations. He oversees a $1.3 billion operating budget and $200 million capital budget.

In recommending Horvath, the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents recognized his accomplishments both at the Institution and throughout his career. Before joining the Smithsonian, Horvath’s career spanned more than 30 years in administration at five universities and the Mellon Bank.

“Al is a proven leader and the right person to guide the Smithsonian through this time of transition,” said John McCarter, chair of the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents. “We know he will continue to move forward the many initiatives now underway around the Institution.”

As Acting Secretary, Horvath will oversee a staff of nearly 6,400 and multiple projects that are underway, including construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and a major digitization project to help increase public access to the Smithsonian’s collections online. 

“I am deeply honored by this opportunity,” Horvath said. “My hope is to keep the positive momentum going. Wayne has been a great leader for the Smithsonian, and we’ve partnered on most of the major initiatives currently underway. Of course major decisions will be made in concert and consultation with David, preparing for his arrival next summer.”

From 2007 to 2011, Horvath was an administrator at The Pennsylvania State University, his alma mater, first as vice president for finance and business for two years, then as senior vice president for finance and business and treasurer. He was responsible for financial, endowment, business and administrative activities at all 24 Penn State campuses with a $4.2 billion operating budget.

Before joining Penn State, Horvath was executive vice president of finance and CFO at Columbia University (2004–2007), where he had oversight for all financial activities of the university, including the medical center, and developed a five-year capital plan and debt strategy.

Horvath joined the California Institute of Technology in 2000 as associate vice president for finance and controller, and he became Caltech’s vice president for business and finance and CFO in 2001, a position he held until joining Columbia University.

From 1994 until 2000, he was controller at New York University and, before that, served in senior roles at Carnegie Mellon University (1988–1994). He began his career at Mellon Bank (1981–1988) in his hometown of Pittsburgh before moving into higher education.

A native of Pennsylvania, Horvath earned his master’s degree in business administration at Duquesne University (1985) and his bachelor’s degree in accounting at Penn State (1981).

John Lapiana, currently Deputy Under Secretary for Finance and Administration, will be Acting Under Secretary for Finance and Administration and CFO.

Biography of Albert Horvath

Biography of John Lapiana

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