Blog Post

Richard G. Newell Named Next President of RFF

May 23, 2016 | Peter Nelson
Richard G. NewellRichard G. Newell

Contact: Pete Nelson, Director of Communications, 202.328.5191, nelson@rff.org

Contact: Dave Cohen, Press Secretary, 202.328.5168, dcohen@rff.org

WASHINGTON—Resources for the Future (RFF) today announced the appointment of Richard G. Newell of Duke University as its next president.

He will succeed current RFF president and former US congressman Phil Sharp, who will retire at the end of June after 11 years at RFF’s helm. Dr. Newell’s term begins on September 1, 2016.

From 2009–2011, Dr. Newell served by presidential appointment as Administrator of the US Energy Information Administration, the agency responsible for official US government energy statistics and analysis. He also served as Senior Economist for Energy and Environment on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers during 2005–2006.

At Duke University, Dr. Newell is the Gendell Professor of Energy and Environmental Economics at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Professor of Economics, and Professor of Public Policy. During 2011–2016, he was Founding Director of the Duke University Energy Initiative.

Newell is no stranger to RFF. He first joined the organization in 1997 as a researcher specializing in climate and energy issues before accepting an appointment at Duke in 2007. He has been a member of RFF’s Board of Directors since 2011.

“Resources for the Future is an indispensable organization—its relevance has never been higher. For over 60 years, RFF has helped our country and the world build a stronger environment, economy, and resource base through pathbreaking economic analysis of the complex linkages among these critical aspects of our well-being. I am honored and excited to lead an organization with a sterling reputation for research excellence and integrity as well as an unwavering commitment to making the world a better place for this generation and those to follow,” said Dr. Newell of his appointment.

RFF Chair of the Board Richard L. Schmalensee, Dean Emeritus of the MIT Sloan School of Management, said of Dr. Newell’s appointment, “Richard Newell is an outstanding scholar and an experienced leader, with a deep appreciation of the ways that timely, relevant research insights can improve policymaking. He is a tremendous addition to this vital institution and a worthy successor to Phil Sharp. Richard and the RFF staff are in a unique position to contribute to the future of environmental and energy policies at exactly the time when objective insights and creative thinking are most needed.”

“Having known and admired Richard for many years on both a professional and personal level, I could not be more delighted about his appointment,” said RFF President Phil Sharp. “I have no doubt that he will be an exemplary steward of this special organization.”

"Because Richard has unmatched expertise in all facets of energy, he was able to bring together a critical mass of people and ideas at Duke toward a common goal. He will be an outstanding leader for RFF," said Sally Kornbluth, Duke University's Provost and Jo Rae Wright University Professor.

During July and August, Linda J. Fisher, Vice Chair of RFF’s Board of Directors, will serve as RFF’s acting CEO, with assistance from Board Chair Richard Schmalensee. Fisher retired in February as Vice President for Safety, Health, and Environment and Chief Sustainability Officer at DuPont. Her extensive career in public service includes 12 years at the US Environmental Protection Agency, where she served in several high-level positions, including Deputy Administrator from 2001–2003. She joined RFF’s Board in October 2006.

In addition to his service on RFF’s Board of Directors, Dr. Newell has served on the boards of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, the International Advisory Council of KAPSARC, as well as the National Academy of Sciences’ Board on Environmental Change and Society, among others, including several editorial boards.

At RFF, Dr. Newell will lead a research and administrative staff of more than 70 and oversee an institutional endowment of nearly $70 million.

Dr. Newell holds a PhD from Harvard University, an MPA from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and a BS and BA from Rutgers University.