Princeton, N.J.—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced today that Kathryn S. Fuller, JD, has been elected chair of its Board of Trustees, succeeding retiring chair Roger S. Fine, JD. The Board leads the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health. Its focus is on building a Culture of Health in America in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being.
Fuller, an attorney and philanthropic leader, is the first woman to serve as chair of the Foundation’s Board. She joined the Board in 2011 with extensive leadership experience in the not-for-profit sector, including as president and chief executive officer of the World Wildlife Fund U.S. (WWF) and as chair of the Ford Foundation Board of Trustees.
In addition to her service on the Foundation’s Board, she currently serves as a trustee of the Greater Himalayas Foundation and The Summit Foundation; as a member of the advisory council of the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; and is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Previously she was advisory board chair of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and on the Board of the Corporation of Brown University. In the for-profit sector, she serves on the Board of Alcoa Corporation.
After her retirement from WWF in 2005, Fuller was elected president emerita and honorary board member of the organization. She joined WWF in 1983, serving successively as its director of programs in public policy and wildlife trade monitoring, general counsel, and executive vice president before being named president and CEO in 1989. Prior to joining WWF, Fuller worked in the U.S. Department of Justice, starting in the Office of Legal Counsel and then helping to create and lead the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section in the Land and Natural Resources Division.
Fuller received a BA in English and American Literature from Brown University and a law degree with honors from the University of Texas, and pursued graduate studies in marine, estuarine, and environmental science at the University of Maryland. She is the recipient of a number of honorary degrees.
“It is a privilege to serve the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as chair, recognizing that it is both an honor and a challenge to follow Roger Fine,” said Fuller. “He has been a model board chair, leading with compassion and commitment, fostering an open and inclusive board culture, and successfully guiding the Board through transformative transitions. His leadership has been thoughtful and caring.”
Fine joined the RWJF Board in 2010 and was elected chair in 2013. The former corporate vice president and general counsel of Johnson & Johnson, Fine retired from the company after a 30-year career, including 15 years as a member of the Executive Committee.
“Kathryn will be an excellent chair because she understands the importance of listening and building consensus,” said Fine. “She will lead with quiet confidence. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is an outstanding organization, and Kathryn will provide important leadership at a crucial time for the Foundation and the country.”
RWJF President and CEO Richard Besser, MD, praised both leaders. “Roger cares deeply about the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and has been a great mentor to me. I will miss him greatly,” said Besser. “We are fortunate to have Kathryn Fuller ready to step in and lead our Board. Her deep experience in the nonprofit world and her understanding of our Foundation, our staff, and our work to promote health and well-being for everyone in America will be huge assets—as will her style and personality.”