Dear Red Crossers,
It has been the greatest honor of my life to lead our American Red Cross in service to its humanitarian mission these past 15 years, and I’m very proud of what we have accomplished together. Today, I would like to share with you that I will retire on June 30, 2024. Later this morning, a press release announcing the news will be distributed, but I wanted you to hear this news from me first.
As we prepare for this transition, please know I will remain closely connected to our mission – you touched my heart too deeply to simply close the book. In that vein, I am grateful that our Board of Governors has asked me to continue my service on the Board. My love for our mission and all the incredible and inspiring people who make our work possible is immeasurable.
I am truly grateful for each of you – our dedicated employees and volunteers – who have supported and delivered our mission these past years and who will continue to carry our mission forward in the years to come. You are exceptional. We have been through countless challenges and crises together, yet through it all, your compassion, skill and unwavering commitment to our mission have never faltered. While this wasn’t an easy decision, after a career spanning nearly five decades, I know it is the right decision for my family and me.
With this news, I am delighted to announce that at our Board meeting last week, the Board of Governors voted to elect Cliff Holtz, chief operating officer, as the new president and CEO of the American Red Cross effective on July 1, 2024.
Cliff has been the advocate and architect behind our organizational strategic plan to build the future Red Cross. With his support and leadership, the Red Cross has been able to achieve long-term financial stability while also growing its mission delivery and making investments in people and technology. We have never been stronger. He is also leading the charge behind our new mission investment plan including how we are adapting to the challenges of the climate crisis and focusing on our own sustainability efforts, as well as steering our important diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
I am confident that the Red Cross will continue to thrive and evolve under his leadership and care. In all my years, I have never worked with a more talented leader and there is no one I trust more. Between now and the end of the fiscal year, I want to assure you that Cliff and I, along with our executive leadership team, will work closely together on a seamless transition that ensures stability and continuity for the organization.
I intend to devote my remaining time as president and CEO to doing what I have loved most at the Red Cross: working side-by-side with the very best colleagues in the world – all of you – to carry forward our lifesaving services.
While we will still have much time together before this transition, as I have reflected on my tenure, I have been thinking a great deal about mission moments – from when I first fell in love with the Red Cross, dishing out food from an emergency response vehicle during our response to hurricanes Ike and Gustav to my recent trip to Maui, holding the hands of those who have lost so much.
I will forever cherish those moments along with thousands of additional experiences that have come along over the years: the crumpled dollar bill from the tooth fairy that was donated by a young child for international aid; the dedicated father who continues to roll up a sleeve to donate blood after blood transfusions gave him more time with his daughter before she passed; the service member we helped get home for the birth of his first child; the Red Cross colleague whose life was saved because someone gave him CPR right in our own national office. Each of these thousands of stories has a lasting and treasured place in my heart.
In closing, I want to share, once again, my profound appreciation for all of you. You have taught me how to lead with my heart, how to live our mission of humanity and hope, and most of all, how the resiliency and generosity of the human spirit shines on even in the darkest of times.
I have never been so proud to be part of an organization in my entire life. Thank you.
With heartfelt gratitude,