Sam Nunn steps down as CEO of Nuclear Threat Initiative

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Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson listens as right as former Georgia senator Sam Nunn introduces him on Capitol Hill in January. AP/Steve Helber

After 16 years, Sam Nunn is bowing out as chief executive of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the anti-proliferation group he helped create after his lengthy career in the U.S. Senate, it was announced this morning.

Replacing the 78-year-old Nunn will be Ernest Moniz, former U.S. secretary of energy during the Obama administration. Nunn will remain involved as one of three co-chairmen on the NTI board. The other two will be Moniz and Ted Turner, the Atlanta-based cable TV pioneer.

Turner and Nunn founded the NTI, with Turner providing much of the early cash and Nunn drawing on expertise gained through his efforts, while in the Senate, to help pieces of a disintegrating Soviet Union maintain control – or safely abandon – their nuclear arsenals. From the press release:

 “We are delighted and honored that Ernie will be NTI’s next CEO,” said Nunn, who will continue to be actively engaged in NTI projects. “Ernie comes to us with sterling credentials, deep expertise and enormous credibility in the nuclear and other WMD security fields. Among many other accomplishments, he played a pivotal role in the successful conclusion of the Iran agreement. Ernie is an outstanding leader and a brilliant thinker, who is respected around the globe.”

 

“In addition to Ernie’s stellar technical and policy credentials, he brings a great passion for our mission,” said Turner. “We believe he is an ideal candidate to step into the CEO role and know that he brings a strong commitment to further strengthen and grow NTI’s impact. We are all very grateful to Sam for his extraordinary leadership as CEO over the last 16 years and look forward to our continued work together.”

 

…[Moniz] is a Ph.D. physicist with a long and distinguished affiliation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is currently a part-time professor of physics post-tenure and special advisor to the president. His previous MIT roles included head of the Department of Physics and director of the Bates Linear Accelerator Center. He was also the founding director of the MIT Energy Initiative, designed to help develop technologies and solutions for clean, affordable, and plentiful sources of energy.


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