Clinton Foundation appoints Donna Shalala as new leader

March 6, 2015, 11:58 PM UTC

As Hillary Clinton looks increasingly likely to run for president, her family’s Clinton Foundation has reportedly picked a female leader of its own.

Donna Shalala, former secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services department under President Bill Clinton, will become CEO of the Foundation, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. Most recently, Shalala served as president of the University of Miami, a position she assumed shortly after President Clinton left office.

The Clinton Foundation, a philanthropic organization with more than $350 million in assets (as of its latest financial report) that advocates for global health, education and combating global warming, has been searching for a new CEO since its previous head, Eric Braverman, stepped down in January. In the interim, Maura Pally, who worked with Hillary Clinton on her original presidential campaign as well as at the State Department, was appointed acting CEO.

Shalala, however, appears to be the Foundation’s first official female chief executive. Before Braverman, Bruce Lindsey, Bill Clinton’s deputy counsel during his presidency, held the post since 2003.

The leadership change follows controversy surrounding the Clinton Foundation—the charity created by the former president after his final term—over its acceptance of donations from foreign governments. Critics questioned whether the contributions from countries such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Australia would pose a conflict of interest if Hillary Clinton does make a bid for the White House in the 2016 election.

At the same time, Hillary Clinton has also come under fire for her exclusive use of a personal email account for official government business during her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State.

The Clinton Foundation did not respond to a request for comment on the appointment of Shalala.

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