Dr. Rajiv Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, brings more than 20 years of experience in business, government and philanthropy to the foundation. Appointed as USAID administrator by President Obama in 2009, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, Shah was charged with reshaping the $20 billion agency’s operations to provide greater assistance to pressing development challenges around the globe. By elevating the importance of innovation, promoting public-private partnerships, rethinking internal practices and shifting how dollars were spent to deliver stronger results, Shah secured bipartisan support that enabled USAID to dramatically accelerate its work to end extreme poverty. Despite partisan gridlock on many issues, two significant presidential priorities – Feed the Future and Power Africa – passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support and were signed into law by President Obama, and the Global Food Security Act is the second largest global development legislation after PEPFAR. Shah’s work delivered results for countries facing democratic transitions, post-conflict situations and humanitarian crises. He is widely credited with providing life-saving access to food, health and water for millions of children across the planet.
When Shah left USAID in 2015, he continued to follow his passion for creating opportunities for communities to thrive in the developing world by founding Latitude Capital, a private equity firm focused on power and infrastructure projects in Africa and Asia. He was also appointed a Distinguished Fellow in Residence at Georgetown University.
Prior to his appointment at USAID, Shah served as chief scientist and undersecretary for research, education and economics at the United States Department of Agriculture. He also served in a number of leadership roles at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. There, he helped launch the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (a joint venture by the Gates and Rockefeller foundations) , the International Financing Facility for Immunization (credited with raising more than $5 billion for childhood immunizations worldwide) and supported the creation of the Global Development Program.
Raised outside of Detroit, Michigan, Shah graduated from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the Wharton School of Business. He and his wife, Shivam Mallick Shah, have three children.