Michael Schneider is officially the acting secretary-general of the World Jewish Congress.
The WJC steering committee designated the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s former executive vice president and CEO to succeed Stephen Herbits.
Schneider, who assumes his position Sept. 10, will have to be elected secretary-general at the next WJC governing board meeting, the organization said in a release Wednesday.
“Michael Schneider will help move the World Jewish Congress into the future,” said WJC President Ronald Lauder. “Michael is universally respected and is no stranger to the Jewish communities of the world. The steering committee expressed confidence that his extensive experience and demonstrated capabilities will greatly benefit the WJC and its constituents at this time.”
“I thank President Lauder and the steering committee for the confidence they have shown in me, and I look forward to working with them and communities around the world to advance the critical mission of the World Jewish Congress,” Schneider said.
Schneider, a South Africa native, stepped down as the JDC’s executive vice president in 2002 after serving for 15 years, but remained with the organization in various capacities. He started with the organization in 1978, serving as its country director for Iran during and after the Khomeini revolution. He is now on loan to the World Jewish Restitution Organization, serving as its acting CEO.
Herbits saw the WJC through several turbulent years of investigations into the organization’s finances that culminated in the firing of longtime lead professional Rabbi Israel Singer and the ultimate retirement of longtime president Edgar Bronfman.
“Thanks to him, the WJC’s operations are efficient and transparent,” Lauder said of Herbits. “He has led us through an historic transition and for that we are all grateful.”
Herbits announced his resignation in May after the WJC elected Lauder as its president. Lauder first selected Daniel Mariaschin, the head of B’nai B’rith International, to succeed Herbits but that deal fell through.