The Thunderbird School of Global Management named Ambassador Barbara McConnell Barrett as its new Interim president. She succeeds Ángel Cabrera who last month announced his resignation to accept the presidency at George Mason University in Virginia.
The school’s trustees cited Ambassador Barrett’s successful leadership as Chairman of Thunderbird (2001-2003), her work with students, faculty, administration, recruiters and donors, as well as her career as a global leader in corporate, government, academic and non-governmental organization settings. From Thunderbird’s Glendale, Arizona headquarters, Barrett will manage the school’s worldwide operations, including offices in Geneva, Moscow, Beijing and Almaty as well as programs and classes in South America, Africa, and dozens of locations throughout the globe and online.
In commenting on the selection, Thunderbird Board Chairman Ann Iverson said, “A quintessential example of the Thunderbird spirit in action, Ambassador Barrett is a seasoned global leader.”
Barrett served as U.S. Ambassador to Finland, CEO of the American Management Association, a Fellow teaching Leadership at Harvard, President of the International Women’s Forum, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy and participant with other world leaders at the Global Leadership Foundation, Club of Madrid and World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
About her appointment, Ambassador Barrett said in a statement: “Ángel Cabrera’s inspirational presidency has positioned Thunderbird for continued growth and success. No institution in the world can match Thunderbird’s achievements over its sixty five years devoted to educating global leaders who create sustainable prosperity worldwide. I recognize what a privilege it is to serve as Interim President of Thunderbird, a global management icon.”
Ambassador Barrett has a long history of service to Thunderbird. In addition to being the first woman Chairman of the Board, she is a member of the Thunderbird Board of Fellows. Among the many top international leaders who have spoken at Thunderbird at Barrett’s request are: Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and most recently former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Barrett founded Thunderbird’s Project Artemis, a broadly emulated program to train and mentor Afghan women entrepreneurs.
Outgoing President Dr. Ángel Cabrera said in a statement: “Barbara Barrett embodies what Thunderbird is about. Her extensive background across international business, public service, philanthropy and diplomacy is unmatched. And she combines in a unique way the attributes of global mindset, enterprising spirit and global citizenship that define what it means to be a global leader.”
Transition from President Cabrera to Ambassador Barrett will occur at Thunderbird Commencement on April 27, 2012 at the Thunderbird Events Center on the Arizona campus. Barrett will serve until a new Thunderbird President assumes office. A search for a new permanent President is underway.