We’re excited to announce that the boards of Effective Ventures US and Effective Ventures UK have approved our selection committee’s choice of Niel Bowerman as the new CEO of 80,000 Hours.

I (Rob Wiblin) was joined on the selection committee by Will MacAskill, Hilary Greaves, Simran Dhaliwal, and Max Daniel.

80,000 Hours is a project of EV US and EV UK, though under Niel’s leadership, it expects to be spinning out and creating an independent legal structure, which will involve selecting a new board.

We want to thank Brenton Mayer, who has served as 80,000 Hours interim CEO since late 2022, for his dedication and thoughtful management. Brenton expressed enthusiasm about the committee’s choice, and he expects to take on the role of chief operations officer, where he will continue to work closely with Niel to keep 80,000 Hours running smoothly.

By the end of its deliberations, the selection committee agreed that Niel was the best candidate to be 80,000 Hours’ long-term CEO. We think Niel’s drive and attitude will help him significantly improve the organisation and shift its strategy to keep up with events in the world. We were particularly impressed by his ability to use evidence to inform difficult strategic decisions and lay out a clear vision for the organisation.

Niel was very forthcoming and candid with the committee about his weaknesses. His focus on getting frank feedback and using it to drive a self-improvement cycle really impressed the selection committee.

The committee considered three internal candidates for the CEO role, as well as dozens of other candidates suggested to us and dozens of others who applied for the position. In the end, we scored the top candidates on good judgement, inspiringness, social skills, leveraging people well, industriousness and drive, adaptability and resilience, commitment to the mission of 80,000 Hours, and deep understanding of the organisation.

Among other things, these scores were based on: input from 80,000 Hours directors on the organisation’s general situation; staff surveys; ‘take-home’ work tests; and a self-assessment of their biggest successes and mistakes. We also consulted, among others, Michelle Hutchinson, the current director of the 1on1 programme, as well as former 80,000 Hours CEOs Howie Lempel and Ben Todd, for their views on the decision.

In the end Niel stood out to us as the person most likely to drive 80,000 Hours in the right direction.

We can’t wait to see what he does in this new role and how 80,000 Hours pursues its vital mission in this new chapter.

Niel wanted to share the following message:

I love 80,000 Hours, and I’m thrilled and honoured to become CEO at this exciting time. I’ve learned so much working here, and I’m continually impressed by the dedication and the impact of the incredible team I get to work with. I am especially grateful for the admirable leadership of Brenton Mayer and look forward to building on this solid groundwork.

80,000 Hours has an impressive track record helping grow the community of people tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems. In light of all the challenges we collectively face as we navigate this century, the world needs many more dedicated people matching their talents to high-impact careers. This is the core of 80,000 Hours’ mission, and I can’t wait to get to work!