Gail J. McGovern, a successful business executive and proven nonprofit fundraiser, was today named President and CEO of the American Red Cross. McGovern, who held top management positions at AT&T Corporation and Fidelity Investments, has experience running large organizations in competitive industries, and a track record for improving business performance and service delivery to the public. Currently, she teaches marketing at the Harvard Business School.
“Gail McGovern brings outstanding leadership skills from the private sector, coupled with a deep commitment to volunteerism,” said Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Chairman of the Board of the Red Cross. “With a passion for our noble mission and the people we serve, Gail will ensure excellence in all areas of Red Cross service. On behalf of the entire Board of Governors, who voted unanimously to approve her selection, we warmly welcome Gail to the American Red Cross family.”
“It is an honor to be asked to lead the American Red Cross, the helping hand to so many people in times of disaster and crisis,” said McGovern. “I am humbled and inspired by this incredible humanitarian network of thousands of volunteers, workers, and supporters serving their neighbors in communities across our Nation and world. I look forward to joining them and am committed to the long-term growth and success of the Red Cross and its life-saving mission.”
McGovern has been recognized twice by Fortune magazine as one of the most powerful and influential women in corporate America. She spent 24 years (1974-1998) at AT&T where she began as a computer programmer and rose through the ranks to the second largest job in AT&T, Executive Vice President of the Consumer Markets Division. In that position, she had direct responsibility for residential long distance and internet services, servicing 75 million customers, generating $26 billion in revenue and overseeing 40,000 employees.
Joining Fidelity Investments in 1999, McGovern oversaw all retail distribution channels in 85 locations. A year later, she became President of Fidelity Personal Investments and was responsible for 4.5 million customers, $500 billion in assets, and 10,000 employees.
McGovern became a member of the Harvard Business School faculty in June 2002. In 2007, she was appointed to the chaired position of the MBA Class of 1996 Professor of Management Practice and teaches in the MBA and Executive programs.
Over the years, much of her volunteer time has been devoted to nonprofit fundraising. As a member of the Board of Trustees and co-chair of the Campaign Executive Committee at The Johns Hopkins University, McGovern and her colleagues kicked off a $2 billion, seven-year campaign. The development team exceeded that goal two years ahead of schedule and has now increased the goal to $3.2 billion.
Her fundraising activities also include events for Children’s Hospital Boston, Dana Farber, and the United Way of Boston. She also serves on two for-profit boards: the Board of Directors of Hartford Financial Group and DTE Energy.
Born in 1952, McGovern received her Bachelor of Arts in Quantitative Sciences from The Johns Hopkins University in 1974. She received an MBA from Columbia University in 1987. She currently resides in Boston with her husband and 18 year old daughter.
McGovern will start with the American Red Cross on June 23, taking over from Mary S. Elcano, who is serving as Acting President and CEO. Ms. Elcano will return to her position as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. In addition, the Red Cross recently announced that Jeffrey T. Towers, a veteran fundraiser with more than 25 years experience in the non-profit sector, will become Chief Development Officer for the organization. In this role, Towers will be responsible for the overall fundraising efforts of the charity.