Reporter- San Francisco Business Times
Fred Blackwell, Oakland’s newly minted City Administrator, is leaving to join the San Francisco Foundation as CEO, according to news reports.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the foundation plans to announce Blackwell’s new role on Friday. Read more here.
According to the report, Blackwell was torn between “two dream jobs.” Blackwell, an Oakland native, joined the city as assistant city administrator back in 2011 under Mayor Jean Quan. Blackwell had previously in city government in San Francisco in various positions including director of the redevelopment agency.
He came to Oakland at a time when the city’s administration underwent a major overhaul led by then City Administrator Deanna Santana, who was credited with cleaning up city policies and procedures. Santana left Oakland in late February even though she had not secured a job elsewhere while rumors circulated about a falling out between her and the mayor.
Both Blackwell and Santana were part of Quan’s “Dream Team” that helped restructure the city after years of bad management and budget deficits. Blackwell was named Santana’s successor in early March. Read more here.
The San Francisco Foundation is the Bay Area’s top philanthropic organizations with assets of more than $1 billion. It’s previous CEO, Sandra Hernandez, left in November after 16 years during which the foundation made $1.2 billion in grants. Hernandez, who joined the California Healthcare Foundation as president and CEO, spoke to the Business Times about her tenure.
Blackwell will surely leave a void in Oakland’s city government and could rattle Quan’s hopes for reelection this November if she can’t find a worthy replacement. Blackwell was also a driving force in economic development and worked closely on major projects such as the redevelopment of the former Oakland Army Base into a trade and logistics hub and the Coliseum City plan to create a dense, urban sports and entertainment complex in East Oakland.
Blanca Torres covers East Bay real estate for the San Francisco Business Times.