MacArthur Foundation Appoints New President
Mr. Denham, as well as former State Department colleagues of Mr. Gallucci, praised the incoming MacArthur president for his ability to remain calm under fire.
For example, while in Iraq in 1991, Saddham Hussein’s security forces detained Mr. Gallucci and a team of about 40 weapon inspectors because they refused to turn over sensitive documents about the country’s nuclear programs. Held in a parking lot for five days, he slept on top of his Nissan Pathfinder in the 105-degree heat and ate MREs. (Meals, Ready-to-Eat). Eventually the Iraqis acquiesced.
“I don’t think I’ve seen him angry or sobbing, but I’ve seen him firm and always effective,” said Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington that receives support from MacArthur. Mr. Talbot worked with Mr. Gallucci at the State Department.
Mr. Denham added: Given the global recession, “it’s clearly important to have leadership that can make tough decisions under pressure and doesn’t have difficulty dealing with a crisis environment.”
Indeed, Mr. Gallucci is joining the foundation at a tumultuous time.
Like other foundations, the organization’s assets have eroded, losing 20 percent of its worth last year. Despite the loss, MacArthur has pledged to keep the amount of its grant making steady this year at around $260-million — an approach Mr. Gallucci said he agrees with.
“The foundation’s mission is in part to improve the human condition; well, that condition has been substantially harmed by the economy, and the foundation should respond to the extent that it is able,” he said.
Mr. Gallucci declined to say how much he will be earning in his new position. Mr. Denham said it will be on par with Mr. Fanton’s compensation. In 2007, the most recent year data are available, Mr. Fanton received $523,368.
Mr. Gallucci will officially join the foundation July 1 and said he will first do a lot of listening to the board and staff members to better understand MacArthur’s role.