A. Michael Hoffman Elected Chairman
A. Michael Hoffman, co-founder and chairman of the London-based private equity partnership Palamon Capital Partners, has been elected chairman of the American Academy in Berlin. The Academy was founded by the legendary late diplomat Richard C. Holbrooke, who was also its longstanding chairman when not in government. Mr. Hoffman succeeds Karl M. von der Heyden and Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, who have served as co-chairmen since 2009, and who will remain closely associated with the Academy. Mr. Hoffman’s selection followed an exhaustive international search.
Vice chairman Gahl Hodges Burt called Mr. Hoffman's election "an excellent choice after a thorough search process. The breadth of Mr. Hoffman's philanthropic endeavors and business experience was exactly the combination we had been seeking. The board of trustees looks forward to working with Mr. Hoffman." Academy trustee Stephen B. Burbank, chair of the Search Committee, said that the committee had been “enormously impressed by Mr. Hoffman’s substantial record of achievement in the financial world, his experience in management at the board level of non-profit institutions, and his very broad interests in culture and foreign affairs.”
Mr. Hoffman received a BA cum laude from the University of Texas, an MA in international affairs from Columbia University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He has extensive experience in private equity, built up over more than twenty-five years, and a history of vigorous commitment to the governance of academic and performing arts organizations.
Before founding Palamon in 1999, Mr. Hoffman was a partner with Warburg Pincus for eleven years, having led the establishment of the firm’s London office in 1987. Prior to joining Warburg Pincus, Mr. Hoffman had a fifteen-year career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Co, Arthur D. Little, and Booz, Allen & Hamilton. He served for nine years as chairman of the Advisory Board of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and is currently a member of the International Advisory Board of the university as well as a board member of the Blinken European Institute. Mr. Hoffman also serves on the International Council of the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University, the University of Texas System’s Chancellor’s Council, chairs the board of Richmond University in London, and is a director of the Salzburg Global Seminar. Mr. Hoffman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House).
Mr. Hoffman has also served on the boards of a number of performing arts organizations in London, including the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court Theatre. He was a founding director of the Shakespeare Globe Theatre, and a trustee and chairman of the development board of the Almeida Theatre. He currently serves on the development boards of the British Library and the Museum of London (the latter as chairman); on the board of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and is the newly designated chairman of the Philharmonia Orchestra.
Academy executive director Gary Smith noted: “I have observed Michael Hoffman's impact on other organizations with admiration. He is a world-class strategic thinker with impressive achievements in international business as well as in the academic and cultural worlds. The American Academy will benefit tremendously from his counsel and leadership.”
An Austrian-American national, Mr. Hoffman speaks German and Dutch. His father, born in Vienna, was an eminent professor of geography and twice a visiting Fulbright Professor at German universities. His grandfather was a prominent Viennese musician and artist and a member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, serving as concertmaster under Gustav Mahler, Bruno Walter, and Felix von Weingartner. Hoffman stated: “I am excited to have an opportunity to contribute to such a robust, entrepreneurial institution. I have been impressed by its inventiveness and impact on the transatlantic dialogue crossing professional silos including the academic, cultural, public policy, and business worlds. I look forward to working with my new colleagues as the American Academy enters a new and dynamic phase of its life.”