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Cavanagh Resigns to Run Conference Board

By Valerie J. Macmillan

Richard E. Cavanagh, executive dean of the Kennedy School of Government, has been named president and chief executive officer of the The Conference Board, the world's leading business membership organization.

"The importance of business to society, and thus the opportunities for the work of The Conference Board, have never been greater," Cavanagh said in a statement. "I've admired the work of The Conference Board for 25 years, and am delighted to become part of it."

The Conference Board is a not-for-profit, non-advocacy organization which compiles the Consumer Confidence Index and the Help Wanted Advertising Index.

Cavanagh will give up his Harvard post, which he has held for eight years, to assume the presidency of The Conference Board.

"Dick Cavanagh is highly respected not only by his colleagues at the Kennedy School and the broader academic community but also by people in the public and private sector," Albert Carnesale, University provost and dean of the Kennedy School, said in an interview.

"He's irreplaceable," Carnesale added. "I...benefited from having Dick Cavanagh at my right hand."

Before coming to Harvard, Cavanagh spent 17 years at McKinsey & Company, Inc., where he led the firm's public issues consulting practice.

He is co-author of the best-selling book, The Winning Performance--How America's High Growth MidSized Companies Succeed.

Cavanagh was instrumental in the creation of the American Business Conference, the New York City Partnership and the Cleveland Tomorrow Group.

He also worked in the Office of Management and Budget during the Carter administration. There, he led a government-wide effort to improve cash management, which saved billions ofdollars.

"Dick Cavanagh is clearly the right leader atthe right time for The Conference Board," saidJohn R. Hall, chair and CEO of Ashland Oil, Inc.and chair of The Conference Board trustees. "Hisextraordinary accomplishments in business,government and academia, combined with his provenleadership skills, make him the perfect choice tolead The Conference Board into the 21st century."

Cavanagh was selected from roughly 1,500candidates following a 10-month search, accordingto Randall Poe, spokesperson for The ConferenceBoard.

The previous president of The Conference Board,Preston Townley '60, was active in the HarvardAlumni Association. He died last September

"Dick Cavanagh is clearly the right leader atthe right time for The Conference Board," saidJohn R. Hall, chair and CEO of Ashland Oil, Inc.and chair of The Conference Board trustees. "Hisextraordinary accomplishments in business,government and academia, combined with his provenleadership skills, make him the perfect choice tolead The Conference Board into the 21st century."

Cavanagh was selected from roughly 1,500candidates following a 10-month search, accordingto Randall Poe, spokesperson for The ConferenceBoard.

The previous president of The Conference Board,Preston Townley '60, was active in the HarvardAlumni Association. He died last September

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