Susan K. Urahn will become the president and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts on July 1, taking the reins from Rebecca W. Rimel, who is retiring after leading the organization for 32 years.
Urahn, who joined Pew 25 years ago, has served as executive vice president and chief program officer since 2016.
“Sue has been an important part of Pew’s success in state policy, health care, and conservation, and her breadth of experience is unmatched,” says Robert H. Campbell, chair of Pew’s board of directors. “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.”
Urahn came to Pew in 1994 with more than a decade of policy research experience at the Minnesota House of Representatives and the University of Minnesota, where she also received her bachelor’s degree in sociology and doctorate in education policy and administration. Initially, she served as a key member of Pew’s planning and evaluation division, and then directed the department from 1997 to 2000. In that role she helped evaluate all of the institution’s grants and other projects, including environmental work. After seven years leading Pew’s education and state policy portfolio, Urahn helped launch the Pew Center on the States and served as its director from 2007 to 2012. She then became executive vice president, leading all of Pew’s work on state policy, economics, and health care, and four years ago became chief program officer.
“I have had the wonderful opportunity to partner with Sue Urahn for more than 25 years,” says Rimel, who will transition into a temporary senior adviser role on July 1. “She is an intellectually curious and strategic leader who has conceptualized and managed a large portfolio of projects that have successfully improved public policy and the lives of the public.”
Rimel joined Pew in 1983 as health program manager, became executive director five years later, and in 1994 was named president and CEO. She oversaw the growth of the organization from a grant-making foundation endowed by members of the Pew family into a global research and advocacy institution with offices and staff working not only at its Philadelphia headquarters but in Washington, D.C., and throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia.
“I am deeply grateful to the board of directors and to Pew’s staff throughout the world. And I want to offer special thanks to Rebecca for her leadership and example over these past three decades,” Urahn says. “I have been privileged to see the real impact we have, not only on the lives of individuals but also on communities around the globe. As we look ahead, the challenge—and the opportunity—for all of us is to build on Pew’s strengths with fresh perspectives, innovation, and creativity. Despite the current uncertainty, I know that we will continue to work together with the same commitment that has brought us so far.”