- John P. Howe, III, M.D., President and CEO, Decides to Retire in 2016 -

Millwood, VA, January 8, 2015
John P. Howe, III, M.D. President and CEO of Project HOPE, examines a young patient in Indonesia following the 2004 tsunami

The Board of Directors of Project HOPE, a post-World War II pioneer in the delivery of health education, medical care and humanitarian aid to people in need around the world, today announced a leadership succession plan for the organization. John P. Howe III, M.D., 71, an internationally prominent cardiologist who has served as HOPE's President and Chief Executive Officer for 14 years, has informed the Directors that he will retire in January, 2016.
Dr. Howe told the Board: "The timing of my decision reflects my strong conviction that Project HOPE, thanks to the tireless dedication of its staff, volunteers, Board, donors and partners, is in excellent shape, in fact stronger than ever. Like any NGO, it will always face many challenges, but legions of hard-working and generous people have enabled it to meet virtually any challenge and, most importantly, sustain its exemplary record of humanitarian service.”

"We have every reason to be optimistic about the future of HOPE and its work, so I have concluded that the outset of a new year offers an ideal time to begin the search for a new leader of this inspiring and historic organization. During this process, I will continue to be as intensely and actively engaged as ever in my work as CEO and President, and as a member of our Board of Directors," Dr. Howe added.
To identify Dr. Howe's successor, the Board has formed a Search Committee and will consider internal as well as external candidates, with the goal of finding the most highly qualified individual to continue building on the defining characteristics of his tenure: world-renowned health education and medical care; a strong, deep professional staff; and the thousands of volunteer doctors and nurses who work on a global scale. Dr. Howe will provide vital counsel to the Committee, who will give preference to candidates with the clinical experience that has been the hallmark of HOPE's success.
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE became internationally identifiable by its white hospital ship, then the largest such vessel ever launched in peacetime. During Dr. Howe's tenure, HOPE has dramatically expanded its clinical care and public health programs, including innovative work in diabetes, tuberculosis and women's and children's health; the creation of three clinics in the Dominican Republic and South Africa and a children's cancer hospital in the Middle East, as well as the expansion of its children's hospital in China. HOPE responded to numerous humanitarian crises, including the Indonesian and Japanese tsunamis, earthquakes in Haiti and China and the current Ebola tragedy in Africa.  In addition, HOPE has extended its geographic coverage to 45 countries, representing every region of the world, and has formed an innovative alliance with the United States Navy, delivering medical care on the hospital ships Comfort and Mercy, under a banner of peace both organizations have called "health diplomacy." Successful "health diplomacy" has been advanced by the many personal relationships that Dr. Howe has developed with world leaders.
Having also enlarged its base of partners and donors, Project HOPE today distinguishes itself by deriving 90% of its support from private sources, with only 10% coming from government sources. Charity-monitoring agencies have given HOPE the highest rankings for percentage of resources dedicated to actual philanthropic endeavors, and for sound governance. And the peer-reviewed journal Health Affairs, owned and published by HOPE, has achieved unquestioned recognition among health professionals and policy-makers as "the bible" of public health policy.
Richard Clark, Chairman of HOPE's Board and the former Chairman and CEO of Merck Pharmaceuticals, said, "Under John's leadership, HOPE has forged a record of extraordinary humanitarian accomplishment. His brilliant leadership and medical expertise, grounded in a keen sense of human empathy, have been essential to HOPE's success in fulfilling its mission. At the same time, we realize that few individuals anywhere are as deserving as John of an opportunity to adjust the tempo of a life spent in relentless commitment to others. Naturally, then, the entire HOPE Board views his decision with profoundly mixed feelings. We are thrilled, however, that over the next year he will remain, as always, far more than fully engaged in his current responsibilities, continuing to provide HOPE and the people it serves with the invaluable benefit of his medical experience, worldwide network of relationships and wisdom.”

"HOPE has become not only a model of effective, reliable and compassionate care for people in desperate circumstances, but also a genuinely innovative force in global health," Mr. Clark added. "All this has been possible because John, at his own initiative, as well as in response to urgent requests from leaders in every region of the world, has relentlessly worked with his superb team on five continents and a multitude of selfless volunteers to tackle many of the most formidable medical challenges of our time."

Dr. Howe, in his remarks to the Board, also said, "I grew up with a Weekly Reader. More often than not, the photo of the original HOPE hospital ship, the SS HOPE, was on its cover, along with its stories of volunteer doctors and nurses in faraway harbors. I, like many, was inspired by this icon of America's humanity -- and many years later, was honored to be invited to lead this great organization into a new era of health education, medical care and humanitarian aid."
"Millions of people have been the beneficiaries of HOPE's staff, Board and volunteers, supported by donors worldwide. I am privileged to enjoy the personal relationships at governmental, corporate, foundation and individual levels that have helped make this possible. Three strategic planning initiatives and a successful $100 million comprehensive campaign later, HOPE is poised for additional growth and development that will make the world an even better place - in 2016 and beyond. During the coming year, I will pursue that cause with at least as much focus and determination as I have over the past 14 years."
The Board's search process has begun, with the objective of naming Dr. Howe's successor well before the end of this year and having that person work closely with Dr. Howe before the end of his tenure as CEO and President, to help facilitate a smooth transition.

Update on Project HOPE leadership succession: John P. Howe, III, M.D. has decided not to delay the opportunity to spend more time with his family and has thus accelerated his planned retirement, effective March 31, 2015. Richard T. Clark, the Chairman of Project HOPE’s Board of Directors, has assumed Howe's responsibilities as Executive Chairman of Project HOPE until a new President and CEO is named. Read statements from Howe and Clark, posted to the Project HOPE website.

About Project HOPE

Since 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) has been dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now provides medical training and health education, and conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 30 countries.

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