NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) announced that its board of directors has elected James G. Niven, former chair of Sotheby’s The America’s and a director of several nonprofit organizations, and Joseph J. Plumeri, senior advisor to Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co. and vice chairman of First Data Corp., to be co-chairs of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA).
Founded in 1992 by former US Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA is the premier substance abuse and addiction research and action center to inform the American public and leaders about the costs and dangers of drug and alcohol addiction and abuse, and to identify effective actions that public officials, parents and other individuals and institutions can take to combat this scourge and treat its victims. Messrs. Niven and Plumeri succeed Jeffrey B. Lane who has been chair of CASA since 2012.
“This is a great day for CASA and for all those who work to combat drug and alcohol abuse and addiction in our nation,” said Califano and Lane in a joint statement. “These two new leaders bring a deep commitment to the nation’s battle against substance addiction and abuse and the experience and commitment to take CASA to a great new stage.”
Mr. Plumeri said, “It’s a pleasure to be co-chair of CASA with Jamie Niven. Together we will provide new leadership and vision to the organization. We intend to do all we can to get parents, public officials, schools and all Americans to recognize how serious the epidemic of drug addiction has become in our nation and take the actions needed to combat this scourge.”
Mr. Niven said, “I am delighted to serve as co-chair of CASA with Joe Plumeri. This is a special institution that celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Drug addiction has reached epidemic levels and we will focus CASA on doing all it can to encourage public officials and all citizens to work to end this crisis.”
Mr. Plumeri has been on the CASA Board for 20 years. He has been chair & CEO of Willis Group Executives, and a leader of First Data and other global corporations. Before joining Willis, he was CEO of Citibank North America, chairman and CEO of Travelers Primerica Financial Services, vice chairman of the Travelers Group, and president and managing partner of Shearson Lehman Brothers. A generous philanthropist, Mr. Plumeri is involved with a wide number of nonprofit institutions. In 2015 Mr. Plumeri published his first book, a national best seller, The Power of Being Yourself: A Game Plan for Success – by Putting Passion into Your Life and Work. In his book, Mr. Plumeri offers simple yet profound guidance on how to stay positive, motivate others, and achieve success in life and work. He has said, “I consider CASA among the causes closest to my heart.” During his years on the CASA board he has helped drive many of its initiatives and has said, “My commitment has become even stronger since the death of my son Chris, who struggled with addiction throughout his life. Now I have the time to act on that commitment and I intend to do that.”
Mr. Niven has been on the CASA board for four years. He attended St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, and the Lycée Jaccard in Lausanne, Switzerland. He graduated from Harvard College in 1967. Mr. Niven has strong ties to the nonprofit community and is currently on the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies, and a trustee of The Museum of Modern Art (28 years), The Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention (10 years) of which he is the chairman, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (38 years). He has also served on the Boards of Directors of The Central Park Conservancy, The Children’s Aid Society, The Neil A. McConnell Foundation, AMREF, The Parrish Art Museum and The National Center for Learning Disabilities. As an auctioneer at Sotheby’s, he volunteers his time at benefit auctions worldwide.
Founded as The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, CASA is the only national organization that brings together under one roof all the professional disciplines needed to study and combat abuse of alcohol, illegal and prescription drugs and nicotine and to inform Americans of the costs of substance abuse and addiction and what they and public and private institutions can do to combat and treat this disease, eliminate the stigma of substance abuse and replace shame and despair with hope.