Pew Promotes Program Director To CEO

The Pew Charitable Trusts will have its first new chief executive in a generation, tapping its program director to lead the organization.

Susan Urahn has been chief program officer since 2016 and will take the helm July 1. Rebecca Rimel, who is retiring after overseeing the organization for 32 years, will transition into a temporary senior adviser role.

“Sue has been an important part of Pew’s success in state policy, health care, and conservation, and her breadth of experience is unmatched,” Robert H. Campbell, chair of Pew’s board of directors, said via press release announcing her appointment. “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,” he said.

Urhan has been with Pew since 1994 when she joined the planning and evaluation division, directing the department from 1997 to 2000. In that role, she helped evaluate all of the institution’s grants and Trusts-initiated projects, including Pew’s early 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 the center’s director from 2007 to 2012. She became executive vice president in 2012, leading all work on state policy, economics and health care.

Urahn previously worked in policy research and evaluation with the Minnesota House of Representatives and at the University of Minnesota. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a doctorate in education policy and administration from the University of Minnesota.

Rimel joined Pew in 1983 as health program officer and became executive director five years later. In 1993, she became president and CEO.

During her tenure, Rimel has overseen the growth of the organization from its headquarters in Philadelphia as a grant-making organization endowed by members of the Pew family to a global research and advocacy institution with offices and staff in Washington, D.C., as well as throughout the United States, the Americas, Europe, and Australia.

The Pew Memorial Foundation, which later became a trust, was created by four generous and civic-minded siblings to honor their father and their mother. J. Howard Pew, Mary Ethel Pew, Joseph Newton Pew Jr. and Mabel Pew Myrin established the foundation to honor their father, Sun Oil Co. founder Joseph Newton Pew, Sr., and their mother, Mary Anderson Pew.