Al Horvath to be Acting Secretary during transition

Albert G. Horvath

Albert G. Horvath

The Smithsonian Board of Regents has appointed Al Horvath, the Under Secretary for Finance and Administration and Chief Executive Officer, to serve as Acting Secretary during the interim period between Secretary Wayne Clough’s retirement on December 31 and the arrival of David Skorton, the 13th Secretary, on July 1.

Horvath has been the Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial officer since 2011. He is responsible for many of the Smithsonian’s major administrative units, including facilities and maintenance, human resources, security, capital projects/construction, information technology and financial operations. He oversees our $1.3 billion operating and $200 million capital budgets.

Before joining the Smithsonian, Horvath was at The Pennsylvania State University, where he was Vice President for Finance and Business (2007–2009) until he was named Senior Vice President for Finance and Business/Treasurer (2009–2011). Al was responsible for financial, endowment, business, and administrative activities at all 24 Penn State campuses, with a $4.2 billion operating budget and a $400 million capital budget.

Horvath also served as Executive Vice President of Finance and CFO at Columbia University and, at the California Institute of Technology, as Associate Vice President for Finance/Controller, then Vice President for Business and Finance and CFO.

He earned his master’s degree in business administration at Duquesne University and his bachelor’s degree in accounting at Penn State.

Horvath will be supported during the transition period by the leadership team already in place at the Smithsonian. Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture; John Kress, Interim Under Secretary for Science; and Claudine Brown, Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, will provide stability for the Institution’s museums, educational initiatives, and research and outreach programs, while focusing on advancing the grand-challenge initiatives central to achieving the Strategic Plan’s goals.

“We are fortunate to have had more than six years of outstanding leadership under Wayne,” said Horvath. “During his time as Secretary, the Smithsonian has built great momentum on many fronts, and it is my intention to keep our Strategic Plan’s important initiatives moving forward through June. I am grateful to Wayne for his guidance, vision, and friendship.

“As new opportunities present themselves and long-term strategic decisions need to be made about the Smithsonian’s future, I will act in full consultation with David so he can hit the ground running upon his arrival.”

John Lapiana, currently Deputy Under Secretary for Finance and Administration, will be Acting Under Secretary for Finance and Administration and CFO.

Posted: 30 October 2014
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Alex di Giovanni has been editing The Torch since August 2006. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked as a writer and editor for the National Geographic Society, Plexus Scientific, The Nature Conservancy, The National Foreign Language Center and St. Martin’s Press, among others. She has the best job in the world.