After a year as CEO of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, David McKean is stepping down to return to Washington, citing family concerns and a desire to be more involved in the political debate at what he called "a critical time for our nation."
McKean, a former top aide to Senator John F. Kerry, said in a note last week to Caroline Kennedy and foundation board chairman Kenneth R. Feinberg that he wanted to be back in Washington as his youngest daughter finishes high school and prepares for college. McKean has commuted regularly to Boston.
"I have had a wonderful year, but ... my wife and I have decided that we should both be back in Washington," McKean said. "Moreover, while I love the library this is a critical time for our nation and I would like to be more directly involved in the debate."
The foundation provides funding, staff, and programming for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Columbia Point. McKean's departure comes just as the museum is marking the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's inauguration with a series of high-profile events and programs, including a tribute at the State House tomorrow marking Kennedy's 1961 "City on a Hill" speech in the House chamber.
McKean was previously staff director for the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the 111th Congress, Kerry's chief of staff from 1999 to 2008, and an adviser on Kerry presidential bid in 2004.
McKean succeeded John Shattuck as CEO. Shattuck, who in an eight-year tenure was credited with elevating the museum's public profile, left Boston in the summer of 2009 to lead Central European University, a graduate school in Budapest founded in 1991 to help post-Soviet states with the transition to democracy.
In an e-mail informing the foundation's board of directors, Feinberg said: "It is understandable why David would want to return to Washington and remain engaged in public affairs." He said Tom McNaught, who has held managerial positions at the foundation since 1996, "has agreed to step up and serve as executive director so there will be no need to spend time seeking a replacement for David."
On the beat
Columnist Shirley Leung says Boston mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh should focus on middle-class housing. Read more