Dr. William A. Pizer Selected as Resources for the Future’s Next President and CEO

Pizer will become Resources for the Future’s 8th President and CEO following Richard G. Newell’s prior announcement that he would step down this year.


March 14, 2024

News Type

Press Release

After a robust nationwide search, the Resources for the Future (RFF) Board of Directors has named Dr. William “Billy” A. Pizer as the next president and CEO of RFF. Pizer is a nationally renowned environmental economist with a background in government and academia. He currently serves as the Vice President for Research and Policy Engagement at RFF and will start in his new role on May 1.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am thrilled that Billy Pizer will be RFF’s next president and CEO,” said Susan F. Tierney, chair of the board of directors at RFF and senior advisor at Analysis Group. “RFF’s researchers provide critically important analysis and insights, and Billy’s expertise in climate change economics and public policy make him a natural to lead RFF’s work in this moment. But what sealed the deal for the board was Billy’s perspective on strengthening the organization’s high-impact and highly relevant research and inspiring a community of professionals toward tackling the big research questions necessary for a healthy environment and a thriving economy.”

Tierney expresses the deep appreciation of the board for Newell’s leadership in positioning RFF as the #1 think tank on environmental and energy economics globally.

“Billy will bring unmatched passion for RFF’s mission to this role,” said Richard G. Newell, outgoing president and CEO of RFF. “His deep knowledge of how the policy process works, and how decisions can be improved through carefully targeted analysis, will benefit the climate policy community tremendously.” Newell will continue in his role as president and CEO until leaving RFF on April 30. Afterward he will continue to affiliate with RFF as Senior Advisor to the CEO.

“What set Billy apart was that his thoughtful vision for RFF’s continued rigorous research and economic analysis was matched by his clear, articulated commitment to a strategic path forward where diversity, equity, and inclusion are clear values in the growth and success of the organization,” said Vicky A. Bailey, Co-Vice Chair of the RFF Board of Directors, member of the search committee, and Principal of Anderson Stratton Enterprises, LLC.

Pizer has served as RFF’s Vice President for Research and Policy Engagement since 2021. Previously, he was the Susan B. King Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, where he was a member of the faculty for ten years. From 2008 to 2011, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Energy at the US Department of the Treasury, overseeing Treasury’s role in the domestic and international environment and energy agenda of the United States. Pizer was previously a fellow at RFF, a senior economist for energy and environment on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, and a senior economist at the National Commission on Energy Policy.

“I have known Billy Pizer since 2001 when he was a senior economist and I was the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers,” said Glenn Hubbard, member of the RFF Board of Directors, Dean Emeritus and Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia University. “I knew then what I know now. Billy has the right balance of deep scholarly expertise and strong policy experience, and he is the ideal choice for RFF.”

Through his 30-year research career, Pizer’s work has primarily focused on the design of policies to drive toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, the benefits and costs of those policies, their impacts on different members of society, and the challenge of implementation at a global level. His work has spanned the globe, including working to create the Duke Kunshan University in China and more than a decade of work in the US-China relations around climate. He has written more than 80 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. He also currently serves on the federal Climate-related Financial Risk Advisory Committee to the Financial Stability Oversight Council, chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury.

“For more than 70 years, RFF’s research has led to much better policies to protect our air, water, and climate, while improving people’s lives,” Pizer said. “Nothing excites me more than this opportunity to lead a truly exceptional group of people to tackle the most critical climate policy questions.”

A nationwide search for the resulting vacancy in RFF’s Vice President for Research and Policy Engagement will begin soon. More information about that search process will be available in the coming weeks on the RFF careers page. 

Resources for the Future (RFF) is an independent, nonprofit research institution in Washington, DC. Its mission is to improve environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement. RFF is committed to being the most widely trusted source of research insights and policy solutions leading to a healthy environment and a thriving economy.

Unless otherwise stated, the views expressed here are those of the individual authors and may differ from those of other RFF experts, its officers, or its directors. RFF does not take positions on specific legislative proposals.

For more information, please see our media resources page or contact Media Relations and Communications Specialist Annie McDarris.

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