Marshall steps down as president of U.S. Institute of Peace

pramati@macon.comJanuary 15, 2014 

(undated handout photo) Jim Marshall

Jim Marshall, a former Macon mayor and U.S. representative, stepped down last week as president of the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Marshall said Wednesday that during his 18-month tenure, he was able to revamp the institute. Now, with the organization reconfigured, he said is the appropriate time to leave.

“I joined 18 months ago, and in those 18 months we’ve totally restructured the organization,” he said. “We’ve developed a new (organization) chart, developed a new strategic plan, we’ve gotten new leadership, we’ve eliminated a lot of legacy programs and we’ve managed to increase the budget. We’ve increased the morale here, and there’s a lot more focus.”

To make the sweeping changes, Marshall ruffled some feathers among the institute’s board of directors, which played a part in his decision to leave, he said.

Board Chairman J. Robinson West praised Marshall’s tenure with the institute.

“In his time at (the institute) Jim led a major effort to energize and focus the institute, and to advance its important efforts in conflict zones around the world,” West said in a release. “The board especially appreciates his success in recruiting top-notch staff and developing an ambitious new vision.”

The institute is an independent, nonpartisan conflict management center created by Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict through nonviolent means. The agency works to save lives, increase the government’s ability to deal with conflicts before they escalate, reduce government costs and enhance national security.

Marshall served as Macon’s mayor from 1995-99 and later served in Congress from 2003-2011. Previously, Marshall won a Purple Heart and other honors while serving in the Army during the Vietnam War, and later he was inducted into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame.

During his time in Macon, Marshall was a law professor at Mercer University.

Marshall said he doesn’t have immediate plans, but he already has been contacted by an international headhunter. Despite this being a midterm election year, Marshall said he’s not currently looking to enter any 2014 congressional race.

“I’m ready to take a break,” he said. “I have no plans to run for office. I’m not contemplating any races right now. ... I like to contribute to public efforts, and I’m hoping to work on another venture (similar to the institute). I want to help another organization turn around. ... It’s been very gratifying, the emails I’ve been getting.”

Marshall said he looks forward to spending more time in Macon and that he has personal projects he wants to complete. He said he wouldn’t mind working with Mercer again.

“I’m open to a wide range of possibilities,” he said. “Mercer is a great institution, and I’d certainly think about some role with them.”

Meanwhile, Marshall said he is busy transitioning out of his old job.

“I’m making sure that with all the things we’re working on, it’s a smooth transition,” he said.

“The job is so consuming, there’s a lot of individual initiatives that had to be attended to. But it’s better funded now, with better morale. I feel good about it. I feel it’s a good time to leave.”

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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