Dean R. Hirsch stepped down as president and CEO of World Vision International on Wednesday and will continue working for the Christian relief and development organization as its global ambassador, according to an announcement made on the day of the transition.
Starting Thursday, Hirsch, who joined World Vision in 1976, will represent the organization at various meetings, events and other engagements, and will be based in both Seattle and Geneva.
"Dean will support me in maintaining, building and enhancing the internal and external reputation of World Vision," said Kevin Jenkins, who assumed the presidency of World Vision International on Thursday. "He will continue to bring to World Vision the invaluable knowledge and insights that he has accumulated over his 33-year career."
As president, Hirsch was instrumental in focusing the organization's attention on helping children by addressing the root causes of poverty and injustice.
Public advocacy became a third pillar of World Vision's work, in addition to emergency relief and development. As the world's largest Christian relief, development and advocacy organization, World Vision has for years been dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty.
Today, World Vision serves and helps the poor in nearly 100 countries around the globe, partnering with communities to find lasting ways of improving the lives of children and their families while providing international disaster relief.
In the United States, the organization partners with local pastors, youth workers, teachers, business owners, students, and parents as they transform their neighborhoods to fight poverty in America.
"We serve the world's poor - regardless of a person's religion, race, ethnicity or gender," the group states.
World Vision International's new president, Jenkins, was appointed to lead the organization earlier this year in April following a unanimous vote by the WVI Board.
On Thursday, Jenkins became the seventh president of World Vision since its founding in 1950 by Bob Pierce, an American evangelist who sought help for Korean war orphans.
Jenkins has been praised as a committed Christian, a creative thinker, and a visionary leader with a strong heart for children and the poor.
Denis St-Amour, the WVI board chair and a member of the presidential search committee, reported earlier this year that the committee considered more than 300 candidates from six continents and 40 countries.
"But, in the end," he said, "with God's guidance, we came to Kevin."
Hirsch, the outgoing president, said of Jenkins, "It's very clear to me that Kevin wants to make a difference for the children of the world."
Prior to his appointment, Jenkins was serving as managing director of a Canadian investment firm and vice chair of the board of World Vision Canada. He has also served as president and chief executive officer of The Westaim Corporation, a technology research and commercial product company.