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Susan Segal

CEO, the Americas Society

Susan Segal: out to change
the Americas society

The Americas Society is a venerable institution. Housed in a grand old building opposite the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on Park Avenue and 68th Street in New York, it hosts a constant stream of Latin American dignitaries. In general, it is a bit like its honorary chairman, 88-year-old David Rockefeller: worthy, admired, yet redolent of bygone glories.

Susan Segal is out to change all that.

By the end of 2002, there was no doubt that the Americas Society, along with sister organization the Council of the Americas, was in decline. Membership was falling, and revenue was $2 million but expenses $4 million. Even mergers were being considered - maybe with the CFR, maybe with the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington.

Bill Rhodes, vice-chairman of Citigroup and chairman of the society, realized that large-scale measures were needed to save the not-for-profit institution. He asked Segal to chair a strategic planning committee. Its report was blunt: "change is a necessity, not an option". So Rhodes asked Segal to take over as interim president and CEO to apply her theory.

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