News and analysis
October 28, 2015

Shalala Hires Former Colleague as COO at Clinton Foundation

In her first major hire since becoming president of the Clinton Foundation, Donna Shalala said Wednesday she is bringing on a former colleague from her time as Secretary of Health and Human Services to help manage the organization’s global operations.

Kevin Thurm will serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer, Ms. Shalala said in a message to foundation staff. He will focus on strategy, day-to-day operations, and the Clinton Foundation’s administrative units. He will report directly to Ms. Shalala.

"Kevin has been a trusted colleague and partner since he served as my chief of staff and then deputy secretary for HHS in the ’90s, where he oversaw major policy and management issues, including the implementation of legislative initiatives like the Government Performance and Results Act and challenges like the 'Y2K' computer programming situation," Ms. Shalala said, referring to the fear in 1999 of a breakdown in important communications when computers switched to 2000.

After serving Ms. Shalala at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Mr. Thurm worked as an executive for Citigroup before returning to HHS in the Obama administration as a senior counselor working on efforts including implementing the Affordable Care Act.

Ms. Shalala took over the top job at the Clinton Foundation in June after 14 years at the helm of the University of Miami.

In a September interview with The Chronicle, on the eve of the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting, Ms. Shalala said that during her first few months at the organization she met with donors to explain how their money was being used and to address any concerns. She didn't hear many.

"There are some things I can fine-tune, there is no question about that," she said at the time.

Ms. Shalala is known as a deft captain in rough waters — and the Clinton Foundation has seen its share of waves. In the build-up to Hillary Clinton's April announcement that she would seek the 2016 Democratic nomination for president, the foundation and its donor rolls were the subject of intense scrutiny.

Ms. Shalala herself has experienced some churn. In September, the foundation president suffered a minor stroke on the last day of the Clinton Global Initiative meeting and was hospitalized.

"I'm out!" she said in a statement on October 7, adding that she felt strong and ready to get back to work.

Send an email to Megan O'Neil.