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The Atlantic Philanthropies Appoint Christopher Oechsli President and Chief Executive Officer

Resource type: News

The Atlantic Philanthropies |

NEW YORK, NY, 28 September 2011 – The Board of Directors of The Atlantic Philanthropies has announced the appointment of Christopher Oechsli as President and Chief Executive Officer, and his election to the Board, effective immediately.  Oechsli has served as Interim President and Chief Executive Officer for the foundation since 27 June 2011.

As Chief Executive Officer, Oechsli will lead Atlantic’s grantmaking through its four programme areas and Founding Chairman grants in its existing geographies.  He will work with the Board, including Atlantic’s Founding Chairman, businessman Charles F. Feeney, to disburse the limited-life foundation’s remaining endowment of approximately $2.5 billion and complete active grantmaking by 2016 and close its doors by 2020.     

Oechsli, 57, has over 30 years of experience in international business, law, philanthropy and policy development worldwide, including work in several of the regions where Atlantic operates. Most recently, he served as Associate Fellow and Project Director at the Institute for Policy Studies, a multi-issue think tank based in Washington, D.C. From 2007 to 2009, he served as Counsel to U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, whom he advised on legislation and a range of domestic and international issues.

Oechsli has a long history with The Atlantic Philanthropies and its Founding Chairman.  He previously served as Atlantic’s Population Health Programme Director from 2000 to 2005, during which time he developed and directed Atlantic’s work to strengthen the health systems in Viet Nam and South Africa.  He led the foundation’s development of higher education and rule-of-law initiatives in Viet Nam, South Africa, Australia and the U.S. and supported the Founding Chairman’s work in health, education and medical research in the U.S., Australia and Viet Nam. For 17 years, he served as a director, counsel or chief executive of operating companies within the General Atlantic Group, an international investment subsidiary of Atlantic.

“As Atlantic enters its final chapter of grantmaking, we face the unprecedented challenge of determining the best possible use of the foundation’s remaining resources to maximise the impact of our grantmaking,” said Peter Smitham, Chairman of Atlantic’s Board of Directors.  “Chris Oechsli brings the vision, commitment, pragmatism and thoughtfulness required to lead Atlantic’s grantmaking, operations and investments until the foundation closes its doors.”

Mr. Feeney added: “Chris Oechsli’s unique expertise in business, law, philanthropy and policy, coupled with his knowledge of Atlantic’s history and vision, make him the ideal person to lead the foundation, and to ensure that Atlantic makes the significant and measurable change demanded during our remaining years.” 

“It is a privilege and honour to be able to lead The Atlantic Philanthropies,” said Oechsli.  “I have long shared Atlantic’s commitment to improving the lives of the disadvantaged and vulnerable, and I look forward to the opportunity to work together with staff and grantees to bring about a legacy of lasting change in the foundation’s final chapter.”


> Learn more about The Atlantic Philanthropies and our mission.

> Read the full biography of Mr. Oechsli (note: “Oechsli” is pronounced “Ex-Lee”)

For media inquiries please contact:
Ben Wyskida, 212-338-4064 or 


The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Atlantic makes grants through its four programme areas – Ageing, Children & Youth, Population Health, and Reconciliation & Human Rights – and through Founding Chairman grants. Programmes funded by Atlantic operate in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Viet Nam.  

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