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Richard C. Holbrooke Steps Down as Asia Society Chairman

Jan 22, 2009
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Vice Chairman Charles R. Kaye Named Interim Chairman

New York, January 22, 2009—Asia Society's Board of Trustees announced today that Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke has stepped down as the organization's Chairman, effective immediately. The resignation is due to Ambassador Holbrooke's appointment by the Obama administration as Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Board also announces that Asia Society Trustee and Vice Chairman of the Board Charles (Chip) R. Kaye, will serve as interim Chairman. A noted business leader with extensive Asia experience, Mr. Kaye is Co-President of Warburg Pincus, and a former Chairman of the U.S.-India Business Council.

As Chairman of Asia Society since 2002, Ambassador Holbrooke oversaw a dramatic expansion of the scope and scale of Asia Society activities, such as the Asia Society Center on U.S.-China Relations, high-level Task Forces including one to develop a regional strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and enhanced public programs. He also helped to shape the prestigious Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia.

Ambassador Holbrooke led an ambitious capital expansion as well, resulting in new Asia Society Centers in Mumbai and Seoul, and the breaking of ground on multimillion dollar facilities in Hong Kong and Houston.

"We are extremely grateful to Ambassador Holbrooke for his dedicated service to Asia Society, and for his wise leadership these last six years," says Asia Society President Vishakha N. Desai. "Ambassador Holbrooke inspired us and pushed us to new heights, and our organization is far better and stronger as a result. Although we will miss his energy and guidance as Chairman of Asia Society, I can think of no one better prepared or more qualified to help the President and the Secretary of State address one of the world's most dangerous crisis zones and the growing instability in Pakistan and Afghanistan."

"We wish Richard Holbrooke all the best in his vital new role," says Kaye. "He is a brilliant diplomat, a tough negotiator and tremendous strategist. We at Asia Society look forward to building on his outstanding legacy."

Ambassador Holbrooke has had a long affiliation with Asia and the Asia Society. He began his career as a foreign service officer in Vietnam, and later served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs during the Carter administration.

Ambassador Holbrooke is best known as the chief architect of the Dayton peace agreement that ended the war in Bosnia, as Assistant Secretary of State for Europe (1994-1996) and later as President Clinton's Special Envoy to Bosnia and Kosovo. From 1999 to 2001, he was United States Ambassador to the United Nations.


The Asia Society is an international organization dedicated to strengthening relationships and deepening understanding among the peoples of Asia and the United States. We seek to increase knowledge and enhance dialogue, encourage creative expression, and generate new ideas across the fields of policy, business, education, arts, and culture. Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, the Society reaches audiences around the world through its headquarters in New York and regional centers in Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Hong Kong, Seoul, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, and Shanghai.The Asia Society is supported by contributions from foundations, corporations, and individuals. Asia Society is on the Web at

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Contact: Deanna Lee, 212-327-9271