Obama Foundation Announces Wally Adeyemo as President

Wally Adeyemo is a senior advisor at BlackRock and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He has spent the majority of his career convening companies, governments, and organizations to move together toward achieving common goals.

CHICAGO — Today, the Obama Foundation announced that former Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo will join the organization as its first-ever President.

In this role, Adeyemo will work closely with current Foundation leadership, including Board Chairman Martin Nesbitt and CEO David Simas. Adeyemo will manage the Foundation’s day-to-day operations, helping to implement the organization’s overall strategic goals and vision. Over the last several years, the Obama Foundation has grown from a staff of a dozen to nearly 200 and launched a number of programs to support the next generation of leaders making positive change in their communities.

“Wally is the ideal person to help lead the Foundation team as we continue to grow the impact of our global civic engagement programs and advance the Obama Presidential Center,” said Nesbitt. “Given his executive experience in both the public and private sectors and previous service with President Obama, Wally is well positioned to help us continue to translate our sky-high ambitions into operational reality through daily leadership of our talented staff.”

Adeyemo is joining the Foundation as it advances its work to build the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago and grows its civic engagement programming. Since 2017, the Foundation has launched a series of programs that support leaders around the United States and the world who work to create positive change in their communities, including the Obama Foundation Fellows, Leaders, Scholars, and Community Leadership Corps, as well as the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and Girls Opportunity Alliance initiatives.

The Foundation recently convened 200 rising Leaders in South Africa to discuss grassroots change across the continent. And in August hundreds of young leaders in Chicago and Hartford, Connecticut, will gather to learn tangible skills for engaging and problem-solving with their local communities as part of the Community Leadership Corps. The Foundation is now in its third year of civic engagement programming and expects to expand globally later in 2019 and 2020.

“I am thrilled Wally is joining the Foundation and look forward to working hand in hand with him to execute our mission to inspire, empower, and connect people to change their world,” said Simas. “Wally has led diverse teams at the highest levels of government, and the Foundation will benefit from his perspective and experience standing up new organizations.”

Adeyemo was appointed in 2015 as President Obama’s senior international economics adviser, responsible for coordinating the policymaking process related to international finance, trade and investment, energy, and environmental issues. Adeyemo also has held several senior management positions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, including Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff. He also helped launch the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2011 as its first Chief of Staff. He is currently a senior advisor at BlackRock and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Adeyemo serves on the board of a number of organizations devoted to community empowerment and addressing inequality, including the Golden State Opportunity Foundation and Demos. His full bio can be found below.

Adeyemo’s work will span responsibilities such as:

  • Leading the implementation and execution of the Foundation’s strategic plan;
  • Ensuring the Foundation’s organizational structures and policies are aligned to support its goals and vision as it grows and continues to implement its second full year of programming; and
  • Managing and supporting all major Foundation functions and teams.

“I am excited to be joining in the work of the Obama Foundation — inspiring, empowering, and connecting young leaders focused on changing the world,” said Adeyemo. “I look forward to working with the talented staff of the Foundation to build an organization devoted to supporting the work of changemakers — whether in Chicago or around the world.”

Wally Adeyemo
Wally Adeyemo is a senior advisor at BlackRock and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He has spent the majority of his career convening companies, governments, and organizations to move together toward achieving common goals. As Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, he served as President Barack Obama’s senior international economic adviser and was responsible for coordinating the policymaking process related to international finance, trade and investment, energy, and environmental issues. Adeyemo also served as the President’s representative to the G7 and G20 and held several senior management positions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, including senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, as well as chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s provisions on macroeconomic policy.

In addition to his work on macro-economic policy, Adeyemo also served as the first chief of staff at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). In that capacity, he helped to build the bureau’s initial executive leadership team and served as a member of the CFPB Executive Committee, helping to protect American consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive consumer financial practices.

Adeyemo is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group, which promotes widespread economic opportunity and the competitiveness of America. He also serves on the boards of Demos, a New York-based think tank focused on social, political and economic equity issues, as well as on the Golden State Opportunity Foundation, which works to provide financial security to low-income working people throughout California; and Just Homes, a faith-based affordable housing initiative based in Washington, DC.

He holds a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

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