Press Releases Urban Institute Elects Five New Leaders to Its Board of Trustees
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May 22, 2020 – The Urban Institute has elected five new members to its board of trustees. Four will begin their terms immediately: Catherine Bessant, chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America; Jay Carney, senior vice president of global corporate affairs at Amazon; Bill Haslam, former governor of Tennessee; and Michael A. Nutter, former mayor of Philadelphia. Stacy Brown-Philpot, CEO of TaskRabbit, will begin her term in 2021.

"At this challenging moment, in particular, our country’s leaders -- in government, as well as in our companies and nonprofit institutions -- are called upon to make decisions based on data and evidence, which is what the Urban Institute has always produced. Our trustees guide Urban to ensure it remains a trusted source, bringing the power of knowledge to shape solutions for a more resilient and equitable country," said board chair Jamie Gorelick. “These extraordinary new trustees provide a breadth of experience and a diversity of views that will help our scholars contribute to what we hope will be a more broadly shared prosperity, consistent with Urban’s proud history.”  

The Urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization, was founded just over 50 years ago to use research and analysis to solve problems and improve decisions, lives, and communities. The COVID-19 crisis has brought ever more complicated challenges around which Urban is mining data and speeding analysis of solutions to equip decisionmakers with timely, actionable evidence. 

"Each sector has a role to play in response, recovery, and long-term reform that closes social, health, and economic inequities so painfully visible during this crisis," said president Sarah Rosen Wartell. “With leadership experience extending across city, state, and federal government, plus the technology and financial sectors, these five innovators will help  Urban rise to this challenge and help shape the country that emerges from this crisis." 


Catherine Bessant, chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America, leads a team of 95,000 people in more than 35 countries. Since 1982, she has led several lines of business, including consumer, small business, commercial, and corporate banking. From 1989 to 1999 Bessant led community development banking, providing debt and equity in affordable housing, small business, and neighborhood revitalization. Bessant led the creation of the Harvard Council on the Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence and serves on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. She has driven Bank of America to be the leading financial institution among all US patent holders. American Banker has named Bessant the “Most Powerful Woman in Banking” for the past three years. Bessant serves on the boards of Zurich Insurance Company and USA Field Hockey. She is also on the advisory board of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Stacy Brown-Philpot has more than 15 years of consumer technology experience, leading the growth and scale of large and small enterprises in the digital economy. She is the CEO of TaskRabbit, which was named one of Fast Company’s most innovative companies in 2017. Since joining the company in 2012, Brown-Philpot has launched local operations in more than 70 major markets in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, and Spain. Before joining TaskRabbit, Brown-Philpot was entrepreneur-in-residence at Google Ventures. Previously, she spent nearly a decade leading global operations for Google’s flagship products, including Search, Chrome, and Google+, and serving as head of online sales and operations for Google India. Brown-Philpot founded the Black Googler Network, a seminal component of diversity initiatives at Google and the larger technology industry. She is on the board of directors for HP Inc., Nordstrom, and Black Girls Code.

Jay Carney is senior vice president of global corporate affairs at Amazon, where he leads public policy, communications, and community investments, reporting directly to CEO Jeff Bezos. Before joining Amazon in 2015, Carney served in the Obama White House for five and a half years, first as communications director to Vice President Biden and then as White House press secretary to President Obama. Before working in government, Carney was a reporter for 20 years at Time magazine. He covered the collapse of the Soviet Union as a Moscow-based correspondent and later covered both the Clinton and George W. Bush White Houses. 

Bill Haslam served as governor of Tennessee from 2011 to 2019, focusing on education, economic development, efficient and effective government, and fiscal strength. He previously served two terms as mayor of Knoxville. Since leaving office, Haslam has returned to the private sector and continues to be engaged on many local and national issues. He is currently the chair of the Young Life board of trustees and serves on the national board of directors for Teach for America.

Michael A. Nutter is a former two-term mayor of Philadelphia who previously spent almost 15 years in the Philadelphia City Council. Since leaving public office in 2016, he has remained active in public policy, government, and civic life. He is the inaugural David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and has held fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago, and Harvard Kennedy School. He is a senior fellow and national spokesperson for the What Works Cities program at Bloomberg Philanthropies and a member of the external advisory council for JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Cities initiative. Nutter is past president of the United States Conference of Mayors and founder of Cities United. He is on the board for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Council on Criminal Justice, Heartland, and the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation.

A full list of Urban Institute trustees can be found here

The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly urbanizing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector.