“Neil represents everything we aspire for in our new GPL leader — he is an exemplary leader, an innovative strategist and an effective convener and collaborator. Neil will energize GPL with his deep passion for the region and ability to work across the aisle on behalf of local and state concerns,” said Sharon Harper, chairman of the GPL Board of Directors and director of the Board Selection Committee that led the CEO search process.
In his new post, which he will assume in November, Giuliano will be charged with bringing together talent, resources and leadership that improve the economic vitality and quality of life in the greater Phoenix region and the state. He will advance GPL’s relationship with elected leaders and the state’s image and brand.
In selecting Giuliano, the Board of Directors heavily weighed his proven ability to forge collaborations to turn big ideas into reality, demonstrated by his portfolio of accomplishments from throughout his career and community leadership.
Giuliano served four terms as mayor of the City of Tempe, from 1994 to 2004. In that capacity, he aligned significant public support and partnerships for the large-scale urban redevelopment project of Rio Salado, establishing the 800-acre project as a magnet for redevelopment and economic investment, including the largest commercial real estate development in Arizona now under construction. Rio Salado /Tempe Town Lake is now the second most visited attraction in Arizona, second only to the Grand Canyon.
Giuliano led the successful effort in Tempe, and then partnered with Phoenix and Mesa, for creation of the Valley’s first 21-mile segment of light rail; he also led the public initiative to build the $65 million Tempe Center for the Arts.
In his role as chair of the Maricopa Association of Governments, then as chair of the organization’s regional transportation planning committee, Giuliano led complex partnering efforts to first create the plan and then extend the half-cent sales tax to fund the Transportation Plan for the Phoenix Metro area. The plan was approved by the Maricopa Association of Governments, the Arizona Legislature, then-Governor Janet Napolitano and voters. While Giuliano was mayor, Tempe earned All-American City recognition in 2003.
After serving as mayor, Giuliano served as president of the national LGBT organization, GLAAD, where he created media and community education initiatives on the topics of religion and faith, sports and in advertising. He leveraged the organization’s relationships with philanthropists and foundations to increase GLAAD’s capacity from $7.25 million to more than $10 million in three and a half years.
Currently, Giuliano is CEO of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, one of the largest and most influential HIV/AIDS service and advocacy organizations in the world. During his tenure the organization grew from 88 employees with a $19 million budget to 150 employees and a $29 million budget.
Giuliano is a longtime resident of Arizona, having graduated from Arizona State University and serving in a collection of leadership role in the Valley most of his professional life.
“I’m honored to take up this post at GPL working with people I respect and trust. It provides a compelling opportunity to work at the intersection of business, government, philanthropy and education,” said Giuliano. “Arizona has always been home, which is why I have maintained my residency in Tempe. I have deep roots extending beyond the decade I was mayor, and the 25 years I worked at ASU, clear back to my days as a student leader on campus. I look forward to being here again full time and advancing the work of GPL.”
Giuliano will succeed Tom Franz, who has served as president & CEO since 2008 and announced his retirement in early 2015. Franz will remain in his position until the transition process to Giuliano’s leadership is complete later in the fall.
“We are grateful to Tom for ensuring a smooth transition and for his leadership of GPL the past seven years. We appreciate his focus on building our membership, advancing priority issues and planning strategically for where we go next, all of which remain greatly valued assets for GPL,” said Harper.