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Obama Picks Nigerian-American to head foundation

The Obama Foundation has hired Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, a former Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics and deputy director of the National Economic Council, as its president, leading the implementation of the organization’s strategic plan and managing its organizational structures and functions.

Adeyemo, whose parents migrated from Nigeria to the US will be the first president of the Obama Foundation

“I am excited to be joining in the work of the Obama Foundation—inspiring, empowering, and connecting young leaders focused on changing the world,” Adeyemo said in a statement. “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.”

According to the Foundation’s release, Adeyemo will work under Chairman of the Board Martin Nesbitt and alongside CEO David Simas in Chicago, managing a staff that numbers close to 200.

“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 (OPC),” Nesbitt said in a statement. “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.”

In addition to the OPC, the Foundation is growing civic engagement projects in its fellowship, scholarship and leadership programs from Chicago to Hartford, Connecticut, to Johannesburg, with further expansions this year and next.

Adeyemo has degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and Yale Law School. In 2011, he was named the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s first chief of staff.

Former President Obama named him his senior international economics advisor in 2015. Adeyemo is currently a senior advisor to asset manager BlackRock and the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

He is also a member of the Aspen Strategy Group, and he is on the boards of New York think tank Demos, the Golden State Opportunity Foundation and Just Homes, a faith-based affordable housing initiative based in Washington, D.C.

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