WASHINGTON (CNS) – A six-month search for a new president and CEO for one of the largest humanitarian relief agencies in the world ended at its doorstep, with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) announcing Sept. 16 that it is hiring a veteran employee – the agency’s No. 2 – Sean Callahan, as its new president and CEO.
“We looked all across the nation and found that the best person for the job was Sean, already working for us,” said Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, N.Y., head of the CRS Board Search Committee, in a statement announcing Callahan’s new position, which begins Jan. 1, 2017. He succeeds Carolyn Y. Woo, who ends her five-year term at the end of 2016.
Callahan began his career with CRS 28 years ago and has served as director of Human Resources, regional director for South Asia, head of its Nicaragua program and executive vice president for overseas operations.
Four years ago he was appointed as the agency’s chief operating officer. Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, Okla., chairman of the CRS board, said in a statement that all that experience is what makes Callahan “eminently qualified” for the top spot.
Callahan said mission, not climbing the corporate ladder, is what has motivated him in his almost three decades at CRS, the U.S. bishops’ overseas relief and development agency based in Baltimore.
In his new leadership position, he said he wants to inspire and motivate staff and CRS partners around the world to be united in humanitarian efforts, incorporating different elements of the Catholic Church to help humanity.