American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO David Harris today announced he will step down from his position in May 2022.

“I was given the honor of a lifetime when AJC invited me to become the CEO in 1990, having first joined the staff in 1979. Since then, I have been blessed with the best job imaginable, including the invaluable support of so many dedicated lay leaders and talented staff colleagues. Every single day, I have been grateful beyond words for the opportunity to pursue my lifelong mission — to assist Jews in danger worldwide, support Israel’s quest for peace and security, combat antisemitism, and defend democratic values against the radical right and the totalitarian left,” Harris said. “Now, after more than three decades, I believe it’s time to pass the baton to a successor, as our Jewish story, I’ve always thought, is a kind of relay race. That will happen in May 2022, at the next AJC Global Forum in Washington, D.C.”

He continued: “When the successor is selected, s/he will have my full support and cooperation to ensure AJC continues to be the preeminent global Jewish advocacy organization. To that end, I will be readily available for the following year as a consultant on the transition. In these unsettling times for the Jewish people, AJC’s 115 years of front-line experience, record of tangible success, unparalleled access to the halls of power, and strict nonpartisanship are as vital as ever. And for the next nearly one year, I will be devoting every ounce of intellectual, emotional, and physical energy to AJC’s programmatic and institutional priorities, as I have tried to do since that first moment in 1990. What an extraordinary journey it’s been!”

“For the past 31 years as CEO, David has built AJC into the leading global Jewish advocacy organization it is today,” wrote AJC President Harriet P. Schleifer in a letter to AJC’s leadership. “A tireless visionary and a passionate advocate for world Jewry, the State of Israel, and democratic values, David’s leadership has been a gift to AJC and to the Jewish people.”

Building upon Harris’s extraordinary tenure, AJC’s Succession Committee, led by Schleifer and AJC Honorary President John Shapiro, in conjunction with AJC’s Executive Council, and supported by international executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, is seeking a visionary leader who will set the course for the next era of Jewish advocacy.

Harris will continue to lead AJC through May 2022, following which he will stay on as consultant to the transition through June 2023.

For press inquiries, please contact Belle Yoeli, AJC Chief Communications and Innovation Officer, at yoelib@ajc.org.

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