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Google CEO Eric Schmidt Appointed as Chairman of New America Foundation's Board of Directors

Published:   February 7, 2008

The New America Foundation, a nonpartisan ten-year-old think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C., announced today the appointment of Dr. Eric Schmidt, the chairman and chief executive of Google, Inc., as the new chairman of New America's Board of Directors.

Dr. Schmidt, who has been a member of the New America board since the policy institute's founding, will succeed James Fallows, the author and national correspondent of The Atlantic. Fallows will remain on New America's board after the transition, which will take place on June 1st; Fallows was New America's founding board chairman.

"New America is a place where first-rate scholars are producing concrete, creative solutions for some of our nation's biggest challenges," said Dr. Schmidt. "I'm proud to be associated with the Foundation and look forward to helping shape its work and future."

"New America's influence and excellence over this last decade exceed what any of its founders could reasonably have expected," said Fallows. "We couldn't be more fortunate than to have Eric Schmidt devote some of his time, intelligence, and public-mindedness to New America's next stage of growth."

Dr. Schmidt's election to the chairmanship coincides with the arrival at New America of a new president and chief executive, the journalist Steve Coll, a staff writer at The New Yorker and former managing editor of The Washington Post who has twice received the Pulitzer Prize. Coll succeeded New America founder Ted Halstead last September; Halstead remains a New America board member.

"New America's success has been built on innovation and the search for promising new voices in scholarship, policy and journalism," Coll said. "Building cultures of innovation and seizing on breakthrough ideas has been the hallmark of Eric Schmidt's extraordinary career in Silicon Valley, and most recently at Google. New America has long benefited from Eric's counsel and support, and everyone here is delighted about his new role, which will strengthen the Foundation immeasurably in the years ahead."

One of New America's priorities during the next several years, Coll said, is to evolve toward a "digital think tank" model that will use new technologies to improve the Foundation's reach; to generate innovative research and develop new ideas; and to create networks of expertise around the most important issues facing the United States in domestic and international policy arenas.

"New America has experienced tremendous growth and success by trying to work outside of the traditional think tank categories and boundaries," Coll said. "We remain focused on our investments in great people, great ideas, and great scholarship and journalism, but we are searching for new ways in which our scholars and researchers can make themselves heard, and make a difference in national life -- and we think new technology can be an important part of these ambitions."

"Generating ideas about public policy is still a very traditional business," said Fareed Zakaria, the author and editor of Newsweek International, and a New America board member. "Eric brings high intelligence and erudition, of course, but also a fresh perspective and focus on innovation that will be extremely valuable."

Dr. Schmidt earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at Princeton University and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California at Berkeley. He rose to become Chief Technology Officer at Sun Microsystems, from where he was recruited to become Chairman and Chief Executive of Novell. He became Chairman and Chief Executive of Google in 2001.

Working with founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Dr. Schmidt has helped Google to become one of the world's most important companies - an innovator in Internet strategy, technology and corporate culture.

The New America Foundation is a nonprofit public policy institute whose purpose is to bring exceptionally promising new voices and new ideas to the fore of American public discourse. Relying upon a venture capital approach, the Foundation invests in outstanding individuals and policy solutions that transcend the conventional political spectrum. Headquartered in Washington D.C., New America also has offices in California.

The Foundation has made a significant impact on a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues since its inception in 1998. With about 100 staff and Fellows and an annual budget of $13.5 million, New America has twelve domestic and foreign policy programs, in addition to a Fellows Program and a California Program.

Contact: Jerry Irvine, (301) 801-3356, irvine@newamerica.net