New CEO at Charity Navigator

August 5, 2015       Mark Hrywna      

Charity Navigator has tapped a former Microsoft executive to become its third chief executive in its nearly 15-year history.

The Glen Rock, N.J.-based charity ratings organization announced today that Michael Thatcher will begin as the new chief executive on Aug. 17.

Thatcher has been public sector chief technology officer (CTO) responsible for technology policy initiatives and engagements with government and academic leaders in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, at Microsoft for the past decade. Based in Singapore since 2010, he led a team of nationally focused CTOs and technical development strategists across greater Asia, according to the organization. Thatcher’s experiences include technically supporting oceanographic research for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, co-founding and directing an international performing arts organization, as well as serving on the board of directors of several nonprofits focused on the arts, the environment, and information technology standards development. Last year, he joined the Board of Trustees of Keystone Accountability in London, which helps organizations “develop new ways of planning, measuring and reporting on their results,” according to his LinkedIn profile. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in music from Columbia University.

“The board of directors was impressed with Michael’s extensive technical experience, outstanding leadership skills, collaborative approach to problem solving and his enthusiasm for our mission,” Charity Navigator’s founder and Chairman of the Board John P. Dugan said in a press release announcing the selection. “We strongly believe Michael is the right person to drive the expansion of our rating system and to grow the number of donors who utilize our service,” he said.

“Charity Navigator is at a critical time in its development,” said Thatcher. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be entrusted with the organization’s leadership as we focus on improving our collection and delivery of information while expanding our rating system to include metrics that effectively measure impact and results reporting.

Former President and CEO Ken Berger announced in April that he would step down. He will remain involved in Charity Navigator as he helps to write a book about charitable giving and the organization. Berger had been chief executive since 2008 when he succeeded inaugural CEO Trent Stamp, now president and CEO of The Eisner Foundation in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Berger’s resignation was a move for the organization toward a more technology-oriented chief executive as it revamped its board with more technology-focused executives. Charity Navigator is in the midst of what it calls a third generation of its ratings system, to include not only more evaluations of charities – from the current 8,000 to a goal of 20,000 – but also add an element of measuring impact and results reporting.

Charity Navigator itself is a nonprofit. It reported total revenue of $1.8 million and assets of $2.7 million last year. Berger earned total compensation of $173,907, including a base salary of $160,644, for the fiscal year that ended in November. Details of Thatcher’s compensation package are unknown.

Last November, Charity Navigator’s board approved a plan to scale up operations, with a goal to double the number of charities rated by the end of 2016. The ambitious plan calls for raising $8.5 million over the next three years to help fund the expansion, which also includes doubling staff size by the end of this year. The organization plans to hire a chief operating officer and chief development officer. This year, the budget is planned to increase by $1 million, to $2.5 million, with a plan to increase by $1.5 million next year.

Note: This story has been updated to reflect Charity Navigator’s announcement on the selection of a new CEO.