Peace Corps Chief of Staff Thomas Tighe Resigns and Accepts Presidency of Direct Relief International in Santa Barbara, CA
September 21, 2000Washington, D.C., September 21, 2000 - Peace Corps Director Mark L. Schneider today announced the resignation of Thomas Tighe, Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer of the Peace Corps, who is leaving to become President and Chief Executive Officer of Direct Relief International, a prestigious non-profit medical assistance organization located in Santa Barbara, California. Tighe, a former Peace Corps volunteer who served as the Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer for the past four and a half years, has played a pivotal role in strengthening the Peace Corps' management operations which has strongly contributed to a resurgence among Americans interested in serving overseas as volunteers. Today, 7,200 Peace Corps volunteers are serving in 76 countries around the world. "Thomas' contributions to the Peace Corps have been extraordinary. His vision, energy, and commitment to the Peace Corps are unmatched. He will be sorely missed by the Peace Corps staff and volunteers serving around the world," stated Schneider.
Before his tenure as Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer, Tighe served as Associate General Counsel for the Peace Corps for two and a half years. Tighe was instrumental in opening Peace Corps programs in South Africa, China and Bangladesh.
"Thomas is one of the most talented public servants I have ever worked with. His breadth of experience at the Peace Corps and interest in philanthropy will be well utilized in his leadership of Direct Relief International," stated Mark Gearan, who was Peace Corps Director from 1995-1999 and now serves as President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y.
Hundreds of Peace Corps staff, former volunteers and friends joined Tighe today to bid him farewell. "The Peace Corps is one of the best representations to the world of what is good about our country and Americans. It has been an honor for me to serve. I am thrilled to join Direct Relief which has a similarly important mission, a tremendous legacy and reputation, and dynamic staff and board committed to making a difference in the world," stated Tighe.
Direct Relief International sends over $50 million dollars a year in shipments of medical supplies and equipment worldwide to help victims of civil unrest, natural disasters and chronic poverty. Their most recent programs have involved aid to earthquake victims in Turkey, to Central American communities ravaged in 1998 by Hurricane Mitch, and to the Kosovo refugees in Albania and Macedonia.
"Direct Relief is deeply honored and excited that Thomas will lead our organization. Thomas possesses the right knowledge, leadership abilities and inspiration to take us forward in new directions," said Janet Reineck, Ph.D., who serves as Director of Development at Direct Relief International.
Before joining the Peace Corps in 1993, Tighe served as committee counsel in the United States Senate under the chairmanship of Senator Alan Cranston and Senator John D. Rockefeller IV. A native of Palo Alto, California, Tighe earned a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of Law. Tighe is married to Carrie Cresap Tighe and has four children.