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RAND President James A. Thomson to Step Down  

By Lookout Staff

April 20, 2011 -- James A. Thomson, President and CEO of RAND Corporation for more than 12 years, is leaving the internationally renowned research and analysis facility this fall.

Under Thomson's leadership, RAND was transformed from a Cold War think-tank to an international organization grappling with fields as disparate as counterterrorism, early childhood intervention, the mental health of veterans, and global agriculture.

"During my time on the board, Jim launched and completed a major shift in strategy, leading to expansion, diversification of clients and a growing international presence, all while strengthening relations with our strategic clients in the Pentagon," said Ann McLaughlin Korologos, immediate past chair of the RAND board and a former U.S. secretary of labor. "Jim has been a model of what a leader should be."

A nuclear physicist who worked on European security and arms control, Thomson joined RAND in 1981. In 1989, he became the fourth president and CEO of RAND, a post he has held longer than any of his predecessors.

Since then, the organization's annual budget has grown from $91 million to more than $250 million and its staff has grown from 1,050 to more than 1,700 people in offices across the globe.

During Thomson's tenure, RAND research into military acquisitions and efficiency has been credited with saving U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars.

In addition to serving private and non-profit clients as well as all levels of government, the organization has opened nearly a dozen offices, some in Europe and the Middle East.

Today international accounts bring in 10 per cent of RAND's revenue, and, thanks to Thomson's encouragement of philanthropic gifts to the organization, RAND's endowment has grown from $42 million to $197 million.

"James Thomson has been an extraordinary leader who has helped RAND increase the breadth of its world-leading research and expanded its research efforts around the globe," said Paul G. Kaminski, chairman of the RAND board of trustees. "He leaves a strong legacy and a vital organization for his successor to build upon."

For his part, Thomson is grateful for his years at RAND.

"I feel privileged to have led RAND for the past 12 years, and have always said this was the best job in the world for me," Thomson said. "It is now time for change and I look forward to helping my successor make a smooth transition."

Kaminski will lead a committee of the RAND Board of Trustees to search for Thomson's successor.


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