Heifer International selects search firm for new president/CEO

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Heifer International announced today that it has selected executive recruitment firm Isaacson, Miller of Boston to conduct the global search for a new president and chief executive officer of the organization.

“Isaacson, Miller has a reputation for finding the most committed, passionate and talented people for nonprofits, and we are confident it will identify and recruit the most capable person to lead Heifer in its battle against hunger and poverty,” said Doug Smith, chair of the organization’s international board.

The search is to find the permanent successor to longtime President and CEO Jo Luck, who transitioned to president in January to write a book about her two-decade journey with Heifer, and to succeed interim CEO Charles O. Stewart, a retired Little Rock bank executive and former Heifer board member who is leading the organization during the transition.

Founded in 1982, Issacson, Miller, with offices in Boston, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, performs between 150 and 200 executive searches a year. Clients have included the Andrew W, Mellon Foundation, The Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Family Fund and Rockefeller Foundation, all in New York, and The William J. Clinton Foundation and William J. Clinton Foundation and Presidential Center, Little Rock, Ark.

The firm specializes in executive searches for agencies that represent advocacy, arts and culture, communications, human services, the environment, research institutes, media and publishing and economic and community development. Recent placements have included presidents and/or chief executives for organizations such as the Boston Foundation for Sight, Boston, Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C., John F. Kennedy Library Association, Boston, and others.

The search firm selection committee comprised executive committee members Smith, Don Hammond, Steven A. Mondora, Kathleen Campenalla, Arlene Withers, Julia Hall Wilson and Ronald McLean. Isaacson, Miller now will work to identify potential candidates for the position, and work with the board to determine which of those will be contacted and interviewed.

In its searches, Isaacson, Miller utilizes a five-phase process—understanding the challenge, networking and screening of prospective candidates, narrowing the field, selecting finalists and checking references, and the final choice—emphasizing in-depth interviewing and reference checking of candidates, along with a thoughtful analysis of the fit between the client organization and candidate.

With selection of the firm complete, the search for a successor and CEO will get under way immediately, said Smith.

“This will be a global search and will be one of the most important decisions this board will ever make,” said Smith. “Jo Luck ably led Heifer for 20 years, and Charles Stewart, working with the leadership team, led by Steve Denne, chief operating officer, is setting a course for new growth so that Heifer will be able to help even more families as they struggle to feed themselves and secure their own futures.”

The timeline for the process is expected to take about a year, said Smith, “but the board will take whatever time it needs to be sure that we find the right person, someone who reflects Heifer’s values, has international nonprofit experience, a track record of change and success and respects Heifer’s unique diversity—of ideas, cultures, opinions, beliefs and a commitment to its cornerstones, including Passing on the Gift.”

Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the earth. Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in more than 50 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant.

For more information, visit www.heifer.org or call 1-800-696-1918.