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The Smithsonian Board of Regents today, Oct. 21, elected Steve Case as its chair, effective Jan. 28, 2020. He will succeed David M. Rubenstein, who has served as chair since January 2017 and will remain on the board’s executive committee. Case, chairman and CEO of the investment firm Revolution, has been a member of the board since 2011.
Currently, Case is vice chair of the board’s three-person executive committee. The Regents elected Dr. Risa J. Lavizzo-Mourey, board member since 2014, to serve as the new vice chair.
The Board of Regents introduced this new leadership at its annual public forum. This was the first public forum with Lonnie G. Bunch III, newly appointed 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian. Rubenstein interviewed Bunch during the event, which took place at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
As chair of the Board of Regents, Case will serve a one-year term that may be renewed for a total of three years. He will represent the board in dealings with the Smithsonian Secretary and senior management and will work in partnership with the Secretary to carry out the policies of the Institution. Together with the chair of the Compensation and Human Resources Committee, he will lead the board in its annual evaluation of the Secretary’s performance and compensation. Case also will serve as the chief spokesperson for the board and will communicate with Congress and other Smithsonian stakeholders on behalf of the Regents.
“I am honored to be chairing the Board of Regents as the Smithsonian prepares for its landmark 175th anniversary,” Case said. “The Smithsonian is one of America’s most treasured institutions, and there is so much opportunity to increase its reach, impact and relevance around the world. I look forward to working with Secretary Bunch and the Regents to implement the bold Smithsonian 2022 strategic plan, leaning into the future as a more innovative and agile organization that effectively deploys a digital-first strategy to showcase America at its very best.”
Case co-founded the investment firm Revolution in 2005 to partner with visionary entrepreneurs as they start and scale new companies, with a particular focus on founders growing businesses in cities outside of the coastal tech hubs through Revolution’s Rise of the Rest program and Seed Fund.
Before founding Revolution, Case was co-founder, chairman and CEO of AOL and, later, chairman of AOL Time Warner. He was the founding chair of the Startup America Partnership, founding co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship and a member of President Barack Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. In 2014, he was named a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship. Steve and Jean Case established the Case Foundation in 1997 to support initiatives that leverage new technologies and entrepreneurial approaches to strengthen the social sector.
About the Board
The legislation that created the Smithsonian Institution (approved by Congress Aug. 10, 1846) called for a Board of Regents to govern and administer the organization. This 17-member board, which meets four times a year, includes the Chief Justice of the United States and the Vice President of the United States as ex officio members. The Chief Justice has traditionally been elected Chancellor of the Institution by the board. The board created the position of chair in 2007 and the position of vice chair in 2008.
Other members of the Board of Regents are three members of the Senate, three members of the House of Representatives and nine citizen members, nominated by the board and approved by the Congress in a joint resolution signed by the President of the United States. Regents who are senators and representatives serve for the durations of their elected terms. Citizen Regents may serve two
The chief executive officer of the Smithsonian is the Secretary, who is appointed by the Board of Regents. There have been 14 Secretaries, including Bunch, since the Smithsonian was established. The Secretary also serves as secretary to the Board of Regents but is not a voting member.
About the Smithsonian
The Smithsonian Institution was founded in 1846 with a bequest from British scientist James Smithson (1765–1829) to found at Washington an establishment for “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” It is the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, with 19 museums and the National Zoological Park.
The Smithsonian’s collections document the nation’s history and heritage and represent the world’s natural and cultural diversity. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 155 million, including more than 146 million scientific specimens and artifacts at the National Museum of Natural History.
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