Operation Smile Names Dr. William P. Magee, Jr. as Executive Chairman; Howard J. Unger as CEO

Jul 12, 2011, 10:01 ET from Operation Smile

NORFOLK, Va., July 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Operation Smile, a leading international children's medical charity, today announced the appointment of Dr. William P. Magee, Jr. to executive chairman and Howard J. Unger to chief executive officer. Kathleen S. Magee will continue in her role as president.

Dr. Magee founded Operation Smile, with Mrs. Magee, in 1982. Mr. Unger has been affiliated with the charity since 1986. The elevation in position for both reflects Operation Smile's ongoing expansion of surgical delivery and sustainable comprehensive care services for children born with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate.

As executive chairman, Dr. Magee will focus on promoting continued advances in the delivery of surgical services in developing countries, enhancing charitable outreach initiatives, and building public/private partnerships. Dr. Magee will work closely with William R. Fox, who leads Operation Smile's board of directors as chairman of the board, to expand the organization's impact globally.

As CEO, Mr. Unger will manage all operations of the organization, focusing on strategic growth, program oversight, policy and advocacy, stakeholder relations, and fundraising.  

"These are exciting times for Operation Smile. We are approaching our 30th anniversary and in that time, the organization's role has grown exponentially," Dr. Magee said. "When we started, our work was focused on medical missions and building our worldwide network of medical volunteers to help children in need. Today, our focus is on delivering sustainable, year-round, in-country medical services. We currently have programs and Operation Smile Foundations in more than 60 countries and 12 Operation Smile Comprehensive Care Centers around the world, with more to follow. What hasn't changed is our core mission: delivering the highest standard of care for those in need."

"Operation Smile's focus has always been on delivering world-class medical care to our young patients. We are now fully engaged in helping our in-country partners to build capacity in sustainable ways," Mr. Unger said. "Our ability to make a difference for children and, by extension, their families and the communities from which they come, has never been stronger. At the same time, the need for our services has never been greater. We are looking forward to not just continuing our complex mission — but expanding it."

"In the last 30 years, Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee and the board of directors have evolved Operation Smile into one of the most prominent cleft organizations in the world," said Mr. Fox. "With this new direction in the leadership team, we are poised to move to the next phase of surgical delivery worldwide, ultimately reaching even more children who need our help."

About Operation Smile (www.operationsmile.org)

Operation Smile, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, is an international children's medical charity with programs and Foundations in more than 60 countries, whose network of more than 5,000 medical volunteers from 76 countries is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children and young adults. Since its founding in 1982, Operation Smile has provided more than 2 million patient evaluations and conducted over 200,000 surgeries for children and young adults born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities. In addition to providing free medical treatment, Operation Smile trains local medical professionals in its partner countries and donates medical equipment to lay the groundwork for long-term self-sufficiency.

SOURCE Operation Smile