BOSTON – Nutter Chair Paul J. Ayoub has been reelected chair of the national Board of Governors of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. His second term will begin July 1, 2022. As board chair, Ayoub oversees governance of St. Jude, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary.
St. Jude recently launched a six-year, $12.9 billion strategic plan to accelerate the research and treatment of childhood catastrophic diseases, including cancer, blood disorders, neurological diseases, and infectious diseases. The plan also calls for a tripling of St. Jude investments in international programs to improve pediatric cancer survival rates around the world. Based in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude has created a global alliance of more than 130 collaborating institutions in 61 countries focused on increasing access to quality cancer care for children, regardless where they live.
“The global effort to address cancer and other catastrophic diseases is deeply embedded in the mission of St. Jude,” said Ayoub. “It was the dream of our founder, Danny Thomas that ‘no child shall die in the dawn of life.’ I look forward to working with my board colleagues to ensure that children continue to receive critical life-saving care and treatment no matter their race, religion, or finances.”
Before his election as board chair last fall, Ayoub had previously served as chair of the Board of Directors of ALSAC, fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, and has served on the ALSAC and St. Jude boards since 1992. Ayoub’s father, Joseph S. Ayoub, Sr., who was among the original group who helped the late entertainer Danny Thomas establish ALSAC and St. Jude, also served on both the ALSAC and St. Jude boards.
“We are fortunate that Paul will continue to serve as chair during this time of significant institutional growth,” said James R. Downing, M.D., president and chief executive officer of St. Jude. “We appreciate his leadership and the contributions of the entire Ayoub family who have been highly engaged and faithful stewards of the institution since its earliest days.”
Since the outbreak of war in the Ukraine, St. Jude, working with its network of partners and ALSAC, helped evacuate over 700 Ukrainian children with cancer and their families to countries across Europe, as well as to St. Jude in Memphis. The far-reaching effort provided urgent help to Ukrainian families suffering through two profound events simultaneously: a cancer diagnosis of a child and a war.
St. Jude also announced a commitment to fund and distribute over $200 million in cancer drugs to low- and middle-income countries. In collaboration with World Health Organization, the initiative will help continue the treatment of pediatric cancer patients in nations where access to affordable, high-quality medications is unpredictable. The initial five-year program will reach an estimated 120,000 children.
Ayoub represents clients in the financing, purchase, sale, development and leasing of commercial real estate projects throughout the country. In addition, he advises numerous for-profit and nonprofit clients in a wide range of industries, including in corporate governance.
A prominent leader and champion of equity, diversity and inclusion in the legal and business communities, Ayoub is chair emeritus and a member of the Executive Committee of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and member and past president of the Board of Directors of the Real Estate Finance Association (REFA). During his terms as a leader of the chamber and REFA boards, he was instrumental in increasing their programming and policy advocacy with respect to issues impacting women and people of color, and both boards were transformed to become meaningfully more diverse. Ayoub also serves as a co-chair of the International WELL Building Institute’s IWBI Health Equity Advisory along with a select group of leading global real estate industry professionals, working to identify, codify, and scale strategies to address health inequities in buildings, businesses, and communities around the world.
As an initial Steering Committee member of Small Business Strong (SBS), Ayoub supported the launch and development of this nonprofit that assists minority- and women-owned small businesses, without cost, in navigating the pandemic’s devastating impact. He continues to serve in this capacity, with SBS serving over 2,000 companies. He has been widely recognized for his leadership in the face of extraordinary challenges and proven record of driving meaningful results in advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Boston business community, the Boston Business Journal named Ayoub to its Power 50 for 2020: Extraordinary Year, Extraordinary People and the Boston Real Estate Times recognized him with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021.