Cato Institute Names Robert Levy Chairman

Praises Chairman Emeritus William Niskanen

September 25, 2008

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The Board of Directors of the Cato Institute has elected Robert A. Levy, a former Senior Fellow in the Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies and a board member since 2007, as Chairman of the Institute.  He replaces William Niskanen who was elected Chairman Emeritus after 23 years of service as chairman.   

The board meeting was held on September 18, at Kiawah Island, South Carolina.  The change in chairmanship was precipitated by evolving corporate governance standards favoring non-employees as board chairmen.  Niskanen will continue as a member of the board and as a Distinguished Senior Economist at the Institute. 

The board passed the following resolution:  The Board of Directors of the Cato Institute, on behalf of the Institute’s officers, employees and donors, hereby expresses its profound appreciation to William A. Niskanen for 23 years of valued service, from 1985 until 2008, as Chairman of the Institute’s board. 

Prior to joining Cato, Bill Niskanen was acting Chairman of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors.  He also filled high positions with the Office of Management & Budget, and the Defense Department.  Niskanen was professor of economics at both UCLA and UC Berkeley.  He has written books, policy papers, and op-eds on a remarkable range of subjects, including national defense, budget policy, regulation, Social Security, taxes, trade, and more.  He has just released a collection of essays, Reflections of a Political Economist.

Bob Levy founded CDA Investment Technologies, a major provider of financial information and software and was its CEO until 1991.  He received a J.D. degree from the George Mason University School of Law and subsequently clerked for Judge Roy C. Lamberth on the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, and for Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  Levy organized and funded the recent challenge to the District of Columbia’s draconian gun law that resulted in the Heller Supreme Court decision upholding an individual’s right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.  He is the co-author, with Institute for Justice president William Mellor, of the widely acclaimed book, The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom.

Cato Institute president and CEO Ed Crane said, “I salute Bill for his more than two decades of service to the Institute and look forward to working with him as a colleague in the years ahead.  We are very pleased to be able to have another distinguished American, Bob Levy, take over the chairmanship.”