NEW YORK, Feb. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The International Rescue Committee formally announced today that George Rupp plans to step down this summer as president of the global humanitarian relief and development organization.
"Periodic change is essential for the long-term vitality of institutions and the individuals who lead them," Rupp wrote in a letter to Sarah O'Hagan and Thomas Schick, co-chairs of the IRC's Board of Directors.
In a message to the IRC's board and staff, O'Hagan and Schick said, "We are saddened by the thought of George's departure, but we understand his desire to write a new chapter in his life after providing the IRC with outstanding leadership and building a superb record of accomplishment as our CEO since July 2002."
Rupp informed the IRC's staff and board last spring of his intention, and a search committee co-chaired by O'Hagan and Schick has been working to identify his successor. The committee has engaged the executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates to assist in the effort.
Rupp said he plans to remain active professionally after leaving the IRC and is considering his next steps.
During his 11-year tenure, the IRC's budget has tripled and is expected to exceed $430 million during the current fiscal year. In that period, the agency has responded to a wide range of humanitarian crises, including those associated with the civil war in Syria, the war in Iraq, the conflict in Darfur, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2008 cyclone in Myanmar, and earthquakes in Pakistan and Haiti. The IRC has also carried out major development and assistance programs in Afghanistan, Congo, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Thailand and elsewhere. In addition, since 2002, the organization has helped more than 75,000 refugees begin new lives in the United States through its refugee resettlement program.
The IRC, which was founded in 1933 at the suggestion of Albert Einstein to help victims of the Nazis, today has operations in over 40 countries. Its staff includes more than 12,000 men and women around the world, and nearly 1,300 volunteers in its 22 U.S. refugee resettlement offices.
As president, Rupp traveled extensively to visit IRC programs and gain insights that he employed to advocate vigorously in Washington, at the U.N. and in other world capitals for the cause of refugees and vulnerable people. In the last five years he has led IRC commissions that issued reports on the plight of Iraqi refugees, put a spotlight on the hidden problem of domestic violence in West Africa and, most recently, sounded the alarm about the humanitarian crisis created by the civil war in Syria.
Forbes named the IRC as one of five "all-star" charities in its November 2012 list of the 100 largest charities. The watchdog groups Charity Navigator and CharityWatch, formerly the American Institute of Philanthropy, currently give the IRC their highest ratings, and it meets all standards of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.
Rupp joined the IRC after stepping down after nine years as president of Columbia University. Earlier he was president of Rice University and dean of the Harvard Divinity School. He was awarded an A.B. from Princeton University in 1964, a B.D. from Yale Divinity School in 1967 and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1972. He is the author of numerous articles and five books, including Globalization Challenged: Conviction, Conflict, Community (2006). He and his wife Nancy have two adult daughters, both anthropologists, and six grandchildren.
About the International Rescue Committee: A global leader in humanitarian assistance for 80 years, the International Rescue Committee works in more than 40 countries offering help and hope to refugees and others impacted by violent conflict and disaster. During crises, IRC teams provide health care, shelter, clean water, sanitation, learning programs for children and special aid for women. As emergencies subside, the IRC stays to revive livelihoods and help shattered communities recover and rebuild. Every year, the IRC also helps resettle thousands of refugees admitted into the United States, in 22 cities across the country. A tireless advocate for the most vulnerable, the IRC is committed to restoring hope, dignity and opportunity. For more information, visit www.rescue.org.
SOURCE International Rescue Committee