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Today, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) announced that Michael Froman—a widely respected leader across government, business, and the nonprofit sector—will become the organization’s fifteenth president. Froman will succeed Richard Haass, CFR’s president since 2003, who has announced that he will be stepping down in June 2023.
Froman is an internationally recognized expert at the intersection of foreign policy, national security, and international economics. His expertise is the result of a decades-long career across the highest levels of government and the private sector, as well as nonprofits and academia, including serving as a distinguished fellow at CFR.
Last fall, the CFR Board of Directors established a search committee following Haass’s announcement. CFR is at a crucial moment in its development as the issues of international relations are rapidly changing, the politics around foreign policy are increasingly complex, and the need for an organization that connects nonpartisan, independent research with a wide array of constituencies around the country is more important than ever.
In this context, the search committee sought a candidate who has deep and broad expertise in international relations, experience in leading organizations and building and managing diverse teams, a background working at senior levels of government, and experience engaging the public and the media. Froman meets all of those criteria and was unanimously approved by the Board.
CFR Chairman David M. Rubenstein stated, “I have been fortunate to know Mike Froman for more than two decades and deeply admire his intellect, work ethic, and knowledge of global issues. He will be an outstanding leader of this institution who, in the tradition of our current president Richard Haass, will both safeguard the Council’s historic legacy while increasing its reach and impact.”
“Out of a highly qualified, diverse, and distinguished group of candidates, Mike’s candidacy stood out for his intellect, proven leadership, and vision for the future of the Council,” stated Jami Miscik and Blair W. Effron, vice chairs of CFR’s Board of Directors and co-chairs of the Board’s Presidential Selection Committee. “The global issues we face today cannot be solved by government, the private sector, academia, civil society or philanthropy alone. Each must bring its particular capabilities to the table, and Mike’s expertise across these sectors will be invaluable in continuing to modernize CFR and maximize its impact throughout the world.”
From 2013 to 2017, Froman served as the U.S. trade representative (USTR), the president’s principal advisor and negotiator on international trade and investment issues. During his tenure, Froman worked to open foreign markets for U.S. goods and services, reach landmark trade agreements, and enforce the rights of American workers, farmers, and firms. He also served as assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor from 2009 to 2013 and worked on a range of foreign policy, national security, international economic, and transnational issues. He served as sherpa for ten G8 and G20 summits and chairman of the Major Economies Forum on Climate and Energy, and worked to develop consensus on an array of foreign policy and economic issues, including China, climate change, and Russia sanctions. From 1993 to 1999, Froman worked at the White House on the National Security Council and National Economic Council staff and at the Treasury Department as deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for Eurasia and the Middle East and as chief of staff of the department.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead the Council on Foreign Relations and to work with its distinguished scholars, staff, and members to maximize its impact in the United States and throughout the world,” said Froman. “As the world faces the return of great power politics, the challenge of growing authoritarianism, and the urgency of climate change, CFR has a critical role to play in forging dialogue among people with differing perspectives and deepening understanding around these issues. I’m looking forward to getting to work.”
Froman currently serves as vice chairman and president for strategic growth at Mastercard. He is responsible for growing strategic partnerships, developing and scaling new business opportunities, and advancing the company’s international partnerships to address major societal and economic issues in the United States and around the world. He and his team drive the company’s financial inclusion work which has provided access for hundreds of millions of individuals and tens of millions of women-run businesses to the digital economy. He is also chairman of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and helped establish the Mastercard Impact Fund and its grant-making strategy. Under his leadership, the company commits roughly $100 million each year to support programs to expand financial security and develop the field of data science for social impact.
Haass leaves the nonpartisan CFR in a strong position as it enters its second century. CFR’s fellows are renowned for providing the highest-quality independent research and analysis, and the organization has an unparalleled capacity to convene world leaders and thinkers across a broad range of issues. Its 5,000 members are comprised of current and up-and-coming leaders from government, business, journalism, technology, academia, and the nonprofit sector. CFR’s Foreign Affairs, the leading journal in the field, as well as hundreds of books, reports, backgrounders, and podcasts, are reaching more people than ever before. Since 2015, CFR Education has developed new award-winning classroom products designed to introduce students in middle school through graduate school to the fundamentals of foreign policy and international relations in order to make sense of the world around them.
Haass, outgoing president of CFR, praised Froman’s selection, saying, “The Council on Foreign Relations is one of this country’s crown jewels. The need for its educational offerings and serious, policy-relevant, nonpartisan analysis is arguably greater than ever. We are thus fortunate and then some to have someone with Mike Froman’s experience, knowledge, and demeanor lead the Council into its second century.”
Froman will build on the strong foundation that Haass leaves, including by ensuring CFR addresses important emerging issues, such as the impact of climate and technology on foreign and national security policy, and deepening the CFR’s engagement with its members, drawing on their experience and expertise. He is committed to expanding the breadth of CFR’s work, including expanding the circle of expert voices to include those with a wide range of views, and extending the reach of CFR to a broad set of constituencies around the country with the goal of deepening understanding and forging dialogue to strengthen support for America’s leadership role in the world.
Froman graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in public and international affairs from Princeton University, earned his doctorate in international relations from Oxford University, and received his law degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He has published on various topics in international relations, trade, and law, including a book on U.S.-Soviet relations, and is a distinguished fellow at CFR and a former fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. He has received a Fulbright Scholarship, a Ford Foundation Fellowship in International Law, a MacArthur Foundation/Social Science Research Council Fellowship in International Peace and Security, a White House Fellowship, and a Truman Scholarship.
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