The trustees of The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, one of the largest private foundations in the U.S., have announced the appointment of John R. Ettinger as Chief Executive Officer of the Trust, effective January 3, 2012.
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in fields such as health and medical research, social services, education, conservation, the development and security of Israel, and other areas. The Trust, established in 1999, is administered by four trustees selected by Leona Helmsley.
Prior to joining the Trust, Mr. Ettinger served as the Managing Partner at the global law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP from 1999 through 2011, where he successfully led and helped manage a broad expansion of the 160 year-old firm's practice both domestically and internationally. Davis Polk has more than 1,500 lawyers and professional staff in 10 offices across major financial centers in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The firm's lawyers routinely represent the largest multi-national corporations and financial institutions on their most complex transactions, and advisory and litigation matters. Mr. Ettinger joined Davis Polk in 1979 and became a Partner in 1986. He has represented clients in mergers, acquisitions, private equity transactions, joint ventures, securities offerings, restructurings, takeover defenses, and corporate governance issues. He regularly represented leading investment banks in a wide variety of matters.
Mr. Ettinger has had a strong commitment to public service throughout his career. His community activities have included serving as a Trustee of the Phillips Exeter Academy, a Director of Communities in Schools, Inc. (a national dropout prevention organization, which serves more than 1.3 million students), a member of the Yale University Council, and a Director of the Martha's Vineyard Museum. Mr. Ettinger is a graduate of the Phillips Exeter Academy, received a B.A. from Yale University, was a Rhodes Scholar at Merton College at Oxford University, and received a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
"John has tremendous depth of experience in building and leading complex global organizations. His strategic thinking and proven leadership will help the Trust further develop its potential and impact," the trustees said. "We are delighted to have John lead our organization as Chief Executive Officer, and we look forward to working with him."
"I am honored and excited to assume the role of CEO," said Mr. Ettinger. "In its relatively short history, the Trust has established a proven track record of using its considerable resources to improve lives and support innovative approaches to complex challenges. I look forward to working with the trustees and staff to continue to build the foundation and expand its impact worldwide."