The Atlantic Council announced several senior-level promotions and management changes today, designed to enrich and expand the organization’s innovative capacity, strategic communications, events production, and intellectual assets.  

“Even before the US elections, it was clear we faced unique challenges to America’s role in the world as we confront what our longest serving board member Henry Kissinger last week called a hinge point in history,”  said Frederick Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council. “These management measures will sharpen our tools and deepen our capabilities to sustain America’s global engagement alongside friends and allies to shape a better future.”

Barry Pavel, who is currently Atlantic Council vice president and director of the Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security, and Peter Schechter, director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, will become the Council’s first senior vice presidents, taking on specific Council-wide activities for creating new capabilities and sharpening strategic communications, in addition to their current duties.

They will join Kempe and Executive Vice President Damon Wilson to form a Program Leadership Group, which will work closely with Chief Talent Officer Adwoa Jones and Chief Financial Officer Andrew Golub to set strategies and policies to ensure the relevance, results orientation, and effectiveness of the Atlantic Council’s programmatic work.

Pavel is a seasoned foreign policy professional, having served in the Pentagon and the White House for more than eighteen years in positions focused on innovating America’s foreign and defense strategies. Schechter is a multi-lingual intellectual entrepreneur who has more than twenty years of communications and political experience, including a background as a lead consultant for high-stakes elections in nearly every country in Latin America.

Events Director Julie Varghese, who leads a best-in-business team that oversees some several hundred large and small events annually, will be promoted to vice president. As part of the top leadership team, she will grow the Atlantic Council’s influence by expanding major events outside the United States while deepening the impact and quality of all of the Council’s events, aligning efforts with programmatic goals.

Varghese brings to her new role nearly twenty years of events and fund-raising experience in a variety of nonprofit, healthcare, governmental, political, and cultural organizations. She has served as National Advance Staff for President Barack Obama, President Clinton, and Vice President Gore.

J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, will also be promoted to vice president, with cross-Atlantic Council responsibilities for developing our intellectual bench to both sustain and expand our deep research and scholarship, with a particular focus on further developing our regional centers.

Acknowledged as one of the world’s leading Africanists, Pham has authored more than three hundred essays and reviews and is the author, editor, or translator of over a dozen books. He was a tenured associate professor at James Madison University before joining the Council and currently still serves as vice president of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA), an academic organization representing over 1,300 professors of Middle East and African studies, and as editor-in-chief of ASMEA’s peer-reviewed Journal of the Middle East and Africa.

Fran Burwell will remain vice president overseeing European Union affairs across the Atlantic Council, running the EU chair operations in the Future Europe Initiative and supervising our Wroclaw Global Forum.

Other management announcements and changes  will follow, including the naming of a new Vice President to oversee development.

Over the past year, the Atlantic Council has seen tremendous growth in size and impact. This advance has been driven by the organization’s unique culture of intellectual entrepreneurialism alongside key partners, focusing on measurable results. As the Atlantic Council looks ahead to its sixtieth anniversary in 2021, these changes will sharpen its mission of working together to secure the future.

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