Rand Taps Former White House Policy Staffer Matheny as Next CEO

Rand Taps Former White House Policy Staffer Matheny as Next CEO

Santa Monica-based research institute Rand Corp. announced on June 6 that it has named former White House national security policy staffer Jason Matheny as its next chief executive, effective on July 5. He succeeds Michael Rich, who has led Rand since 2011.

Matheny, 47, who will become Rand’s sixth chief executive, recently led White House policy on technology and national security at the National Security Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Previously, he was founding director of the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University and director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), where he was responsible for developing advanced technologies for the U.S. intelligence community.

Matheny takes the helm of Rand at a time of much uncertainty for the research institution. Long accustomed to being a nonpartisan repository for fact-based research, Rand must now adapt to an increasingly partisan atmosphere and a broader cultural assault on basic established facts and objective research that has been building for the past several years.

Exiting chief executive Rich warned in an interview with the Business Journal last December that these twin challenges threaten the essence of Rand, which has roughly 1,770 employees and took in nearly $350 million in grant and contract revenue during its most recent fiscal year ending last September 30.

“Rand is an idea that the best way of solving complex policy problems is to start with facts and subject them to rigorous analysis,” Rich said. “If the facts themselves can’t be believed, then that’s an existential threat to Rand as well as to our entire system of governance.”

Matheny acknowledged this challenge in his comments following his selection by Rand’s board as the next chief executive.
“Since its founding nearly 75 years ago, Rand has been committed to rigorous, unbiased analysis addressing the world’s biggest challenges, “ he said. “A new century has brought on new challenges and new opportunities, and we need Rand’s help now more than ever.”

Matheny was selected as chief executive after Rand’s board reviewed nearly 200 people and received input from the institute’s clients, grantmakers and donors, among others.
“Jason has long respected Rand’s rigor and integrity and has been a voracious consumer of Rand analysis for decades, including while serving in senior U.S. government leadership positions,” board chair Michael Leiter said in the announcement. “From our first discussions with him, we were struck by his belief in Rand’s ability to help solve the world’s most important public policy challenges and by his vision for supporting future generations of policy researchers and leaders.”

Prior to leading IARPA, Matheny worked for Oxford University, the World Bank, the Applied Physics Laboratory, the Center for Biosecurity, and Princeton University. He holds a Ph.D. in applied economics from Johns Hopkins University, an M.B.A. from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Chicago.

Matheny has served on many nonpartisan boards and committees, including the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, to which he was appointed by Congress in 2018.

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