Skip to main content

John R. Healy, CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies, to Step Down in September 2007

Resource type: News

The Atlantic Philanthropies |

HAMILTON, Bermuda The Atlantic Philanthropies announced today that its chief executive officer, John R. Healy, will step down in September 2007. Mr Healy, who was appointed CEO for a five-year term in September 2001, has agreed to extend his term for an additional year before returning to his home country, Ireland.

Mr. Healy, 59, has been associated with The Atlantic Philanthropies since 1990. As chief executive officer, he managed the organisation’s successful transition in 2002 to a limited-lifetime foundation which expects to cease active grantmaking around 2016 and will close down shortly thereafter. Mr. Healy led the initiative to focus Atlantic’s grantmaking on four areas: ageing, disadvantaged children & youth, population health, and reconciliation & human rights. As of March 30, Atlantic had awarded grants totalling $3.64 billion since 1982. Remaining in the endowment is approximately $3.8 billion. The organisation’s self-imposed expiration date is in keeping with the spirit and philosophy of its founder, Charles F. Feeney, who believes in “giving while living,” and follows in the philanthropic footsteps of other notable foundations.

The search for Mr. Healy’s successor is being conducted by Spencer Stuart & Associates, under the direction of the Board of Directors of The Atlantic Foundation, the largest charitable fund within The Atlantic Philanthropies. The Board will consider both internal and external candidates. In announcing the transition, Frank H.T. Rhodes, chairman of the board, said: “We have been extremely fortunate to have an individual of John Healy’s extraordinary calibre at the helm during these past five years as we have navigated successfully through a number of profound changes as a philanthropy. In becoming chief executive, John followed in the footsteps of Atlantic’s first president – Harvey Dale, who had successfully guided our philanthropy from its inception through its first 20 years. John’s dedication, energy and judgement have left an indelible imprint on the work of this organisation and will have lasting benefits not only for the work of Atlantic, but also our grantees and the multitudes of people they serve.

“The fact that John has agreed to remain with us beyond his original five-year agreement attests to his commitment to Atlantic’s mission and to his stature as an individual,” Mr. Rhodes said. “Once a new chief executive has been identified, John will work to ensure that this individual will steer our organisation to the completion of its journey.” Mr. Feeney said: “I have worked closely with John Healy since 1987 and have relied extensively on his good judgement, his integrity and his enormous ability to effect organisational change. I respect and understand his desire to return to Ireland, but recognise that we will all miss his contributions to Atlantic.” Reflecting on his time as CEO, Mr. Healy said: “I am grateful to Chuck Feeney and the Board for giving me the opportunity to spend the last 16 years working for Atlantic. It has been a fascinating, challenging and exhilarating experience. I feel that 2007 is a good time for me to step down as CEO. Our organisational transformation is substantially complete. And I believe we are fundamentally on course to continue helping the organisations we support make a very real difference. Our senior management team of Deborah Phillips in New York and Colin McCrea in Dublin is strong and experienced. We have great strategies in place supported by great people on our staff. I look forward to continuing to work in support of our grantmaking over the course of the next 15 months, and to collaborating with the new chief executive to ensure that this transition is seamless.”

Mr. Healy, a native of Ireland, was initially recruited by Mr. Feeney to establish an organisation to develop grantmaking for Atlantic Philanthropies outside the United States. Mr. Healy became managing director of Tara Consultants Ltd. [now known as the Atlantic Philanthropies (Ireland) Ltd.] at its inception in 1990, and spearheaded The Atlantic Philanthropies’ grantmaking in Europe and South Africa until 2001. Under his leadership, Atlantic established grantmaking programmes and offices in Ireland, Northern Ireland and South Africa. Before directing Tara Consultants, Mr. Healy was chief executive of an Irish nonprofit organisation, The Irish American Partnership. Earlier, he was assistant chief executive of the Irish Government’s Export Board. Mr. Healy is formally the President of The Atlantic Foundation, the largest of The Atlantic Philanthropies.

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. To learn more, please visit

The first of The Atlantic Philanthropies, The Atlantic Foundation, was established in 1982. The organisation is headquartered in Bermuda. In addition to Bermuda, Atlantic has offices in Belfast, Dublin, Ha Noi, Johannesburg, New York and Seattle. Total grants: $3.64 billion since its inception in 1982; $3.8 billion of funds currently remain in the endowment. Atlantic decided in 2003 to become a limited-lifetime philanthropy and to spend down its endowment before 2020 in order to make an important impact during the lifetime of its Board. The current plan is to complete active grantmaking at the end of 2016 and close down as soon as possible thereafter. The Atlantic Philanthropies has a policy of not accepting unsolicited proposals for grants. Atlantic changed its policy of making grants anonymously in 2001.

Board of Directors of The Atlantic Foundation are: Harvey P. Dale, Atlantic’s Founding President 1982-2001, Professor of Philanthropy and Law at New York University Law School and Director of NYU’s National Center on Philanthropy and the Law Christine V. Downton, former partner in Pareto Partners, a London investment advisory firm Charles F. Feeney, Founding Chairman of The Atlantic Foundation John R. Healy, Chief Executive Officer of The Atlantic Philanthropies Sara Lawrence Lightfoot, Professor of Education, Harvard University Elizabeth J. McCormack, senior advisor on charitable giving to Rockefeller Family & Associates Thomas N. Mitchell, former Provost, Trinity College, Dublin Frank Mutch, former partner of Conyers, Dill & Pearman, a leading Bermuda law firm Frank H.T. Rhodes, Chairman of the Board of The Atlantic Philanthropies, Professor of Geological Sciences and President Emeritus of Cornell University Frederick A. O. Schwarz, Jr., Senior Counsel with the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, New York City, Senior Counsel with The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, and Chair of the New York City Campaign Finance Board Peter Smitham, Chairman of Actis, a private equity investor in emerging markets, and a partner in Permira, a private equity firm Michael I. Sovern, President Emeritus and Chancellor, Columbia University and Kent Professor of Law at Columbia University Law School Cummings V. Zuill, a Bermuda Charity Commissioner and retired Senior Vice President of the Bank of Bermuda. ###

Related Resources

Global Impact:



John R. Healy, limited life