Kushal Chakrabarti is stepping down from the educational microloan non-profit Vittana, handing the reins of the organization over to Rebecca Lovell who has been named interim CEO.
“This is a big opportunity for Vittana. The last five years have been incredible. The next five will be epic,” said Chakrabarti, the former Amazon.com employee who founded Vittana in 2007.
Lovell most recently served as chief business officer at GeekWire, and before that led the non-profit Northwest Entrepreneur Network. She was instrumental in the early success of GeekWire, helping to build a series of events and energizing the community around our mission. Lovell planned her move from GeekWire, and worked with us through an extended transition period as we brought on former Seattle Times digital ad sales vet Sarah Camp as our Chief Sales Geek. (More on the changes at GeekWire, including our second anniversary recap, in this post).
Lovell said she’s excited about the prospects at Vittana which recently received large donations from venture capitalist Vinod Khosla and Zillow co-founder Rich Barton as part of $3 million fundraising campaign.
“Education has always been close to my heart, and seeing the impact it can have on an entire generation — and generations to come — is awe-inspiring to say the least,” she said.
In addition to Lovell, Vittana also has named Megan Beck as development vice president. She previously worked at Acumen Fund and Grameen Foundation. Vittana helped facilitate about $5.25 million in microloans for about 8,000 youth around the world last year, more than triple the 2011 totals. Chakrabarti noted that ”some huge opportunities are opening up for us” and the new hires will help lay “the organizational foundations for even greater growth.” In a blog post titled “Farewell, Vittana,” Chakrabarti says that it was not an easy decision for him.
“I’m absolutely, heart-burstingly proud of everything we — the core team, our local partners, our global network of friends and supporters — have achieved over my past five years as CEO. But, it’s time for someone new to lead Vittana to the next level,” he writes.
He will remain co-chair of the board, and will assist in a nationwide search for the organization’s permanent CEO.