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Gail J. McGovern Image

Gail McGovern has been President and CEO of the American Red Cross since 2008. During her tenure, she has overseen a major transformation of the organization, with a keen focus on reducing expenses, strengthening service delivery, and bringing the organization into the 21st century—all to better serve more of those in need and be the best stewards of our donor dollars.

With a dedicated team of volunteers and employees, and strong support from the Red Cross volunteer Board of Governors, here are the key achievements under Gail McGovern’s leadership:
Strengthened Service Delivery

  • Restructured the chapter network to reduce duplicative layers of management and reinvest in services. This led to improvements in teamwork and service delivery as local chapters now work together regularly, share best practices, and partner more collaboratively with donors.
  • Reengineered and expanded the Red Cross disaster services program to provide strengthened and standardized services at the community level.
  • Increased the financial support provided to clients and expanded the organization’s use of volunteers. During the last fiscal year alone, financial support to victims of home fires and other local disasters grew by 4 percent and volunteer hours grew by 18 percent.
  • Launched a national Home Fire Campaign with the goal of reducing deaths from home fires by 25 percent over the next five years. In just over a year after launching the campaign, the Red Cross has installed approximately 195,000 smoke alarms in over 2,600 communities, trained approximately 333,000 children to be safer in emergencies, and has documented evidence of 32 lives saved.
  • Continued to respond to nearly 70,000 disasters and emergencies each year, including two of the largest Red Cross response and recovery efforts: the Haiti Earthquake and Hurricane Sandy.
  • Set Red Cross on the Path to Financial Stability

  • Eliminated the $209 million annual operating deficit within two years, and instilled a culture of cost-consciousness within the organization.
  • Eliminated redundancies by consolidating back-office operations—such as IT, payroll, marketing, and HR. Cut management and general overhead expenses by 47 percent—almost half—since 2008.
  • Right-sized Red Cross blood services operations to address falling demand and prices that occurred throughout the entire blood-banking industry, while still providing 14,000 units of quality blood products every day to meet the needs of hospitals and patients.
  • Outside of major disasters, we increased donations from individual, corporate and foundation donors by 14 percent to ensure the organization has predictable, sustainable funding to fulfill its mission.
  • Created a mobile-giving fundraising tool, Text REDCROSS to 90999 for a $10 donation, that made giving more accessible, especially to a new generation of donors.
  • Achieved Sustained Compliance in Biomedical Services

  • Developed a robust, world-class system to evaluate and monitor the performance of compliance activities required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for blood services operations, and dramatically reduced high-risk problems.
  • Strengthened the culture of compliance which resulted in a five-year period of sustained compliance, leading to the organization’s recent release from the FDA Consent Decree, which it had been under for 22 years.
  • Embraced Change and Technology

  • Revitalized the Red Cross brand by creating a stronger presence in the digital space.
  • Released 13 free mobile apps for iPhone and Android users to put lifesaving information into people’s hands. So far, these apps have been downloaded more than 7.5 million times and translated into 30 languages.
  • Developed digital and e-learning formats for Red Cross health and safety courses.
  • Effectively harnessed social media to communicate with a wider audience. The Red Cross now has more than 2.5 million followers on Twitter and more than 700,000 followers on Facebook.
  • Launched three Digital Operations Centers – powered by Dell – to monitor the social space and allow us to see real-time needs during disasters and respond more quickly to those seeking help, hope, and information.
  • Modernized Systems

  • Successfully implemented the largest IT cutover in the organization’s history to an entirely new set of operations support systems that have reduced costs, improved quality and implemented industry-standard labeling on blood products.
  • Invested in infrastructure and overhauled nearly every IT system, to include implementing one common email platform, revamping the public website and intranet, implementing a new Learning Management System for health and safety courses, and successfully launching Volunteer Connection—an online platform for tracking volunteer opportunities.