Ambassador Mark Green named McCain Institute executive director

Green is replacing interim director Nick Rasmussen, who has served in the role since October following founding-director Kurt Volker's departure

After roughly six months with an interim director, the McCain Institute for International Leadership has a new executive director, ASU President Michael Crow and board chair Cindy McCain announced Thursday. 

Ambassador Mark Green will take the helm, the two announced. Since August 2017, Green was administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Previously, he was president of the International Republican Institute, a U.S. ambassador to Tanzania and served Wisconsin in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

“Mark Green’s hallmark is inclusive, character-driven leadership that produces remarkable results,” McCain said in a press release. “I’ve known and admired him for a long time and am so proud we now get to work with him directly as our executive director."

Green has dubbed his leadership approach the “Journey to Self-Reliance.” While administrator of USAID, Green implemented a range of new policies, including USAID’s first private sector engagement policy and a new fund for the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity initiative, according to his bio

“Character-driven leadership, in America and around the world, has never been more important,” said Green in the press release. “At USAID, I helped strengthen our humanitarian and global development tools. At the McCain Institute, I’ll have an opportunity to reinforce  the leadership needed to use these and other tools at a critical moment  in our history.”

Green takes over for Nick Rasmussen, who served as interim executive director after founding-director Kurt Volker's unexpected departure following his actions as a U.S. special envoy for Ukraine. 

READ MORE: Cindy McCain asked Volker to resign as McCain Institute head

Rasmussen, a former director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, will remain as senior program director of national security and counterterrorism at the institute.

“What drew me and what draws top leaders from government to the Institute is simple; we have ambitious, impactful programs led by innovative, experienced practitioners,” said Rasmussen, in a press release. 

The Institute, a think tank based in ASU’s Barrett & O’Connor Center in Washington, D.C., focuses on security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity.

The search for its new leader was said to be "extensive," according to the press release, and was facilitated by Korn Ferry and led by Fran Townsend, a board member and former homeland security advisor.

Crow said in the press release that Green's "leadership style, vision and global success match up superbly with the ASU charter,” adding that, "Ambassador Green’s selection continues our unwavering commitment to securing the absolute best talent available."

Editor's Note: This story was updated at 3:36 p.m. to clarify the amount of time Green lead USAID. 


Reach the reporter at ajhowar6@asu.edu and follow @andrew_howard4 on Twitter.

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