Like the top-notch research that the Urban Institute conducts, my admiration and respect for its departing president, Bob Reischauer, is based on evidence.
In his 12 years at the Institute, Bob has epitomized what wise leadership is all about. Among other things, he oversaw the development of the highly influential Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, steered the Institute through the Great Recession in good form, raised the Institute's visibility and helped frame pressing policy issues through continual interaction with the media, and started exciting new initiatives in infrastructure and in state and local finance.
At the same time, he served in the highest capacities as a guardian of the public interest—first as vice chair of MedPAC, the panel that advises Congress on issues concerning Medicare, and then as one of two public trustees of the Social Security system, a responsibility he will shoulder until 2013.
As chairman of the Institute's board of trustees, I have also seen Bob dig deep into fiduciary details and take personal interest in the career development of his staff. To a remarkable degree, he has shown that he can think big and put himself in others' shoes.
Bob will be remembered for these things, but also for strengthening the Institute's intellectual and financial foundations, which will allow our new president, Sarah Wartell, to take the organization to new heights. Sarah's experience as a deputy assistant to the president for economic policy and deputy director of the National Economic Council, executive vice president of the Center for American Progress, and a respected housing finance expert makes her well suited to lead the Institute's expert staff as they shed objective light on a wide range of pressing policy challenges. We welcome her and look forward to her leadership.
- Joel L. Fleishman, Chairman of the Board