The Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts announced Thursday that it had named a new chief executive to succeed Rebecca W. Rimel, who has held a leadership role at the organization for more than three decades.
Pew’s board of directors this week selected Susan K. Urahn, the nonprofit’s current executive vice president and chief program officer, to take over as president and CEO of an institution with a $6 billion endowment.
Urahn, who will take over beginning July 1, was recommended by an internal search committee and unanimously approved by the board of directors, according to the announcement from board chair Robert H. Campbell. She joined Pew in 1994 and has overseen all the organization’s program work in Philadelphia and around the world.
“Sue has been an important part of Pew’s success in state policy, health care, and conservation, and her breadth of experience is unmatched,” Campbell said in a statement. “She is also a strategist and creative thinker who will champion Pew’s core values and protect the organization’s reputation for nonpartisanship, fact-based research and recommendations, and integrity.”
Rimel, who has been president and CEO since 1994, announced her retirement last year. Through her tenure, Pew grew from 10 employees to more than 1,000 across the globe. Most of those employees are in Washington, where the Pew Research Center is based.
Pew, which was founded in 1948 by the family of Sun Oil Co founder Joseph Newton Pew, has a staff of about 70 based in Philadelphia. Pew’s Philadelphia Research and Policy Initiative has examined why people leave Philadelphia, what city residents think of the soda tax, and what matters most to the community.
Rimel was deeply involved in civic projects in the city, including the creation of the visitor center on Independence Mall, the move of the Barnes Foundation to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and the creation of a new Alexander Calder Sanctuary that will showcase the Philadelphia-born sculptor’s work across from the Barnes and the Rodin Museum.
Urahn joined Pew in 1994 as a member of its planning and evaluation division, and directed that department from 1997 to 2000. She helped evaluate all Pew’s grants and trusts-initiated projects, including Pew’s early environmental work.
Urahn helped launch the Pew Center on the States and served as the center’s director from 2007 to 2012.
In 2012, Urahn became executive vice president and led all of Pew’s work on state policy, economics, and health care.
Before joining Pew, she worked in policy research and evaluation with the Minnesota House of Representatives and the University of Minnesota.