We’re excited to announce that the boards of Effective Ventures US and Effective Ventures UK have approved our selection committee’s choice of Niel Bowerman as the new CEO of 80,000 Hours.

I (Rob Wiblin) was joined on the selection committee by Will MacAskill, Hilary Greaves, Simran Dhaliwal, and Max Daniel.

80,000 Hours is a project of EV US and EV UK, though under Niel’s leadership, it expects to be spinning out and creating an independent legal structure, which will involve selecting a new board.

We want to thank Brenton Mayer, who has served as 80,000 Hours interim CEO since late 2022, for his dedication and thoughtful management. Brenton expressed enthusiasm about the committee’s choice, and he expects to take on the role of chief operations officer, where he will continue to work closely with Niel to keep 80,000 Hours running smoothly.

By the end of its deliberations, the selection committee agreed that Niel was the best candidate to be 80,000 Hours' long-term CEO. We think Niel's drive and attitude will help him significantly improve the organisation and shift its strategy to keep up with events in the world. We were particularly impressed by his ability to use evidence to inform difficult strategic decisions and lay out a clear vision for the organisation.

Niel started his career as a climate physicist and activist, and he went on to co-found and work at the Centre for Effective Altruism and served as assistant director of the Future of Humanity Institute before coming to 80,000 Hours.

The selection committee believes that in the six years since he joined the organisation, Niel developed a deep understanding of its different programmes and the impact they have. He has a history of initiating valuable projects and delegating them to others, a style we think will be a big strength in a CEO.

For example, in his role as director of special projects, Niel helped oversee the impressive growth of the 80,000 Hours job board team. It now features about 400 jobs a month aimed at helping people increase the impact of their careers and receives around 75,000 clicks a month; it’s helped fill at least 200 roles that we’re aware of.

Niel has also made substantial contributions to the website, publishing an ahead-of-its-time article about working in US AI policy in January 2019, helping launch the new collection of articles on impactful skills, and authoring a recent newsletter on how to build better habits.

In addition, Niel helped the 1on1 team nearly double the typical number of calls completed per year and aided in developing quantitative lead metrics to inform its decisions each week. And he’s run organisation-wide projects, such as leading the two-year review for 2021 and 2022

Niel was very forthcoming and candid with the committee about his weaknesses. His focus on getting frank feedback and using it to drive a self-improvement cycle really impressed the selection committee.

The committee considered three internal candidates for the CEO role, as well as dozens of other candidates suggested to us and dozens of others who applied for the position. In the end, we scored the top candidates on good judgement, inspiringness, social skills, leveraging people well, industriousness and drive, adaptability and resilience, commitment to the mission of 80,000 Hours, and deep understanding of the organisation.

Among other things, these scores were based on: input from 80,000 Hours directors on the organisation's general situation, staff surveys, 'take-home’ work tests, and a self-assessment of their biggest successes and mistakes. We also consulted, among others, Michelle Hutchinson, the current director of the 1on1 programme, as well as former 80,000 Hours CEOs Howie Lempel and Ben Todd, for their views on the decision.

In the end Niel stood out to us as the person most likely to drive 80,000 Hours in the right direction.

We can’t wait to see what he does in this new role and how 80,000 Hours pursues its vital mission in this new chapter.

Niel wanted to share the following message:

I love 80,000 Hours, and I’m thrilled and honoured to become CEO at this exciting time. I’ve learned so much working here, and I’m continually impressed by the dedication and the impact of the incredible team I get to work with. I am especially grateful for the admirable leadership of Brenton Mayer and look forward to building on this solid groundwork.

80,000 Hours has an impressive track record helping grow the community of people tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems. In light of all the challenges we collectively face as we navigate this century, the world needs many more dedicated people matching their talents to high-impact careers. This is the core of 80,000 Hours’ mission, and I can’t wait to get to work!


 

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Congrats Niel!

An apt anecdote I remember from the early EA days (forgive me if I butcher some details), that stuck in my mind as an example of 'person who gets shit done':

A crowd of us were gathered in someone's flat, preparing for the official launch of 80k (or possibly GWWC) the next day. Niel decided we would all need to be fed, so went to a nearby takeaway place to ask how cheaply they'd be willing to do a spread for 20+ people. He then went to a restaurant next door, told them the price of the first restaurant, and then zigzagged between them letting them negotiate each other down, eventually literally passing the phone to them so they could agree on who was willing to give us the lowest price.

Result: some very effectively fed altruists.

Congrats, Niel and all! I imagine this has been in the works for a while, but even so am very impressed how quickly 80k has managed to appoint a new CEO after Howie's departure - that's great & a credit to everyone who made it happen.

Good luck in your new role Niel!

I'm excited to hear this! Congratulations Niel, and I am excited to see 80k's continued success.

Congratulations Niel! Best of luck with the future of 80k!

Thanks for sharing some details about the selection process, Rob!

Executive summary: The boards of Effective Ventures US and UK have approved Niel Bowerman as the new CEO of 80,000 Hours.

Key points:

  1. Niel Bowerman was chosen by a selection committee as the best candidate for 80,000 Hours' long-term CEO.
  2. The committee was impressed by Niel's drive, strategic thinking, evidence-based decision making, and clear vision.
  3. Niel co-founded the Centre for Effective Altruism, helped grow 80,000 Hours' job board, and nearly doubled the 1on1 program's call volume.
  4. The committee considered Niel's self-identified weaknesses and commitment to self-improvement in their decision.
  5. Niel will take over from interim CEO Brenton Mayer, who will become COO.
  6. Niel expressed enthusiasm about this "exciting time" for 80,000 Hours to continue its mission of helping people match talents to high-impact careers.

 

 

This comment was auto-generated by the EA Forum Team. Feel free to point out issues with this summary by replying to the comment, and contact us if you have feedback.

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