Indiana University


Tobias Center Vision

The enduring mission of the Tobias Center is inspiring leadership excellence on a national scale.  Special access to the Center’s work will be furnished to Indiana citizens for the distinct purpose of enhancing leadership within the state.


About Us » Randall L. Tobias Biography

Ambassador Randall L. Tobias

Ambassador Randall L. Tobias formerly served the United States Department of State as Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and USAID Administrator.

Ambassador Tobias was born March 20, 1942 and grew up in Remington, Indiana. He earned a bachelor's degree from Indiana University in 1964.

From 1964 to 1966, he served on active duty as an artillery officer in the U.S. Army. He then joined AT&T where he held a number of positions with company subsidiaries in Indiana and Illinois. In 1981, he was named a corporate vice president in AT&T's global headquarters in New Jersey, where he later ran AT&T's worldwide long distance and network businesses as Chairman and CEO of AT&T Communications. He played a major role in helping lead AT&T through the difficult period following the 1984 breakup of the Bell System, serving as Vice Chairman of AT&T from 1986 until 1993 and, additionally, as Chairman and CEO of AT&T International from 1991 until 1993.

In 1993, he joined Eli Lilly and Company as Chairman, President and CEO. Under Tobias's leadership, the company experienced a dramatic turnaround and enjoyed one of the most successful periods in its history. On January 1, 1999, upon his retirement from the company, he was named Chairman Emeritus. After stepping down from his post at Lilly, he continued to serve on several corporate boards while also focusing his attention on a number of business, community and philanthropic interests and on teaching and writing. His book on leadership lessons learned, Put The Moose On The Table, written with his son, Todd Tobias, was published in early 2003.

On July 2, 2003, President Bush nominated Tobias to serve as the first United States Global AIDS Coordinator with the rank of Ambassador, reporting directly to the Secretary of State. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 3, 2003 and sworn in on October 6, 2003. Ambassador Tobias was responsible for launching the highly successful President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and for directing all U.S. Government international HIV/AIDS assistance across the various agencies and departments of the United States Government that deliver it.

On January 19, 2006, President Bush named Ambassador Tobias as the nation’s first Director of United States Foreign Assistance, and nominated him to serve concurrently as Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the principal government agency that administers economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 29, 2006 and sworn in on March 31, 2006. He continues to report to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and holds the rank of Deputy Secretary of State.

In addition to his direct responsibilities for USAID and Department of State foreign assistance funding and programs, Ambassador Tobias was also responsible for providing strategic direction and guidance to all other foreign assistance programs delivered through the various agencies and entities of the U.S. Government, including the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.

Ambassador Tobias served for 13 years as a trustee of Duke University including 3 years as chair of the board, and for 12 years as a trustee of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He has also served on a number of corporate boards, including AT&T, Eli Lilly and Company, Chemical Bank of New York, Agilent Technologies, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Knight-Ridder, Inc., and ConocoPhillips Petroleum Company. He currently serves as a director of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). In 2013, Governor Mike Pence appointed Ambassador Tobias as a trustee of Indiana University.

Among his honors, Ambassador Tobias was named Pharmaceutical Industry CEO of the Year by the Wall Street Transcript in 1995, and CEO of the Year in 1996 by Working Mother magazine. In 1997, he was named one of the "Top 25 Managers of the Year" by Business Week magazine. He was also named the "Norman Vincent Peale Humanitarian of the Year" in 1997. He received the "Positive Ally Award" from the National Association of People with AIDS in 2005, and in 2006 he was named an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Ambassador Tobias has been awarded honorary Doctor of Laws degrees by Indiana University, Wabash College, Butler University, Gallaudet University, and Ball State University, and an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He has also been awarded the Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI) Urban University Medal. He is the current Chair of the Indiana University Board of Trustees.