The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) today announced that Steven Schwager, the organization’s Executive Vice President and CEO, will step down as CEO as of June 30, 2012 and will retire from JDC on January 31, 2013. Schwager, who has served as CEO since 2002, has worked with distinction for JDC since 1989, including as the organization’s CFO and COO.

‘It’s been my very great privilege to have helped JDC address some of the most pressing challenges facing the Jewish people. Following careful soul-searching, I concluded that after nearly 23 years serving this marvelous organization, it was time for me to retire. I do this with the deepest of pride, knowing that the work we have done together has helped ensure that Jews around the world face their future a little less hungry, with deeper connections to their Jewish identity, and with the profound hope to build a better tomorrow,’ said Schwager.

Schwager’s tenure included some of JDC’s major rescue and relief activities, including the remarkable Operation Solomon airlift and the establishment of JDC’s unprecedented welfare program in the former Soviet Union. Additionally, under Schwager’s leadership, JDC received the esteemed Israel Prize; founded a Partnership for needy Jewish children with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews that currently serves 30,000 poor children and their families; created one of North America’s leading programs for young Jews to engage in global Jewish issues through service and learning; and provided a robust program of humanitarian aid and development assistance to victims in disaster-stricken Haiti and South Asia.

‘We thank Steve for his devotion to JDC and are truly sorry to see him go. Having tirelessly traveled the world to assure that the most vulnerable Jews are receiving the support they so need and having built programs that will continue to benefit those we serve long into the future, Steve’s achievements stand out as a blueprint for success. He will always be a Jointnik and part of the JDC family, and we wish him well as he begins his much-deserved retirement,’ said Penny Blumenstein, JDC’s President.