Sign up for the latest
updates from CRS.

Donate now to Catholic Relief Services

Pray with us. Light a Candle in CRS' Virtual Chapel.

CRS Names Carolyn Woo New President, CEO

By John Rivera
Carolyn Woo has been named new CRS president and CEO

Carolyn Woo has been named new CRS president and CEO. Photo by Dan Stack for CRS

Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo, dean of the business school at the University of Notre Dame, has been selected by the Catholic Relief Services board of directors to serve as the agency's next president and CEO. Woo will succeed Ken Hackett, who is retiring after leading CRS for the past 18 years.

Woo, 57, has served as the dean of the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame since 1997. She served on the CRS board of directors from 2004 until 2010. On January 1, 2012, she will become the seventh chief executive of CRS since the agency was founded in 1943.

"Dr. Woo is a woman of deep faith with a strong commitment to the mission of the Church. She will bring exceptional abilities and gifts to the task of serving the poor around the world in the name of Catholics throughout the United States," says Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, who chairs the CRS board of directors.

"CRS is so blessed to have had Ken Hackett's leadership these 18 years, now to be followed by another outstanding faith-filled leader in Dr. Woo," he says.

Hackett, who is retiring after leading CRS since 1993, worked closely with Woo during her tenure as one of the first lay members of the CRS board. "Having traveled and worked closely with Carolyn as a board member, I have always appreciated her keen sense of the critical issues and decisions that faced us institutionally," he says. "Her powerful intellect and insight combined with a profound faith and an abiding compassion will equip her well to lead CRS as it faces the challenges ahead."

Woo was born and raised in Hong Kong, educated by the Maryknoll Sisters of Ossining, and immigrated to the United States to attend college at Purdue University, where she received her B.S., M.S.I.A. and Ph.D. degrees.

Prior to assuming the deanship of the Mendoza College of Business, Woo served as associate executive vice president for academic affairs at Purdue University. She joined Purdue as assistant professor in 1981, became full professor in 1991 and directed the professional master's programs in the Krannert School of Management from 1993 to 1995.

Her teaching and research interests include corporate and competitive strategy, entrepreneurship, management of innovation and change, and organizational systems.

During her 6-year tenure on the CRS board, she made several trips overseas to visit the agency's programs and staff, including Banda Aceh, Indonesia, shortly after the Indian Ocean tsunami, and to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Kenya.

"I am honored to join an organization that is a true manifestation of the compassion of Jesus Christ and the Church's ministry of charity around the world," Woo says. "I look forward to building on the strong accomplishments of Ken and the global staff of CRS."

Woo and her husband, David Bartkus, currently live in South Bend, Indiana. They have two sons.

Share on Twitter