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Woods named next CEO of American Institute of Architects

Current head of the National Institute of Building Sciences will succeed Robert Ivy, who is retiring after leading group for a decade

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Nov. 19, 2021
By Walt Williams

The American Institute of Architects has tapped nonprofit executive Lakisha Ann Woods as its next CEO, effective Jan. 31. She will succeed Robert Ivy, who in May announced his plans to retire from the $81 million-revenue organization at the end of this year.

Woods currently is CEO of the National Institute of Building Sciences, a 501(c)3 group established by Congress in 1974 to identify and resolve problems involving the construction of housing and commercial buildings. She joined the organization in 2018 after having previously been chief marketing officer at the National Association of Home Builders. 

“Her breadth of experience in the building industry combined with her leadership in making the built environment more sustainable, equitable and safer for Americans makes her a natural fit for advancing AIA’s strategic priorities,” AIA board President Peter Exley said in a statement. “I look forward to seeing her further empower architects to improve society and transform the built environment as well as inspire the next generation.”

AIA is one of the nation’s oldest professional organizations. It was founded in 1857 by 13 architects but today has more than 95,000 members and 200 chapters around the world, according to its website. 

In recent years, AIA has positioned itself as an advocate for using architecture to mitigate climate change. It also has ramped up efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the profession. Earlier this year the group announced a major renovation of its Washington, D.C., headquarters to reduce the building’s footprint and create an equitable “post-COVID” workplace. The project is projected to cost AIA between $50 million and $70 million.

AIA pointed to Woods’ record of leadership at NIBS as a reason for her selection, noting she expanded the group’s programs as well as its relationships with a number of public agencies, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The incoming CEO is also chair-elect of ASAE, chair of the ASAE Foundation and vice chair of the U.S. Green Building Council.

“I look forward to working with the AIA team, volunteer leaders, and most of all, AIA’s passionate and engaged members to take full advantage of this dynamic moment in history to secure a future for the association that is as diverse as our society, as inclusive as everyone deserves, and as sustainable as the next generation demands,” Woods said in a statement.

She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from the University of Maryland

Spencer Stuart assisted with the search.