Church World Service Welcomes Rick Santos as President and CEO

January 25, 2021

New York City—Church World Service today proudly welcomes Rick Santos as the organization’s new President and CEO. The announcement comes as Reverend John L. McCullough steps down from the position and into the role of President Emeritus. Santos, who was recently President and CEO of IMA World Health, previously served for more than ten years at Church World Service and has dedicated more than 20 years of his professional life to serving in faith-based organizations. Under Santos’s guidance the global humanitarian agency will continue its programs in development and humanitarian affairs, refugee assistance, and advocacy for social justice.

To mark the announcement, CWS Board Chair, Rev. Patricia deJong made the following statement:

“As CWS celebrates its 75th year, Rick Santos is the leader who can help us commit to another 75 years of our mission of transforming communities and welcoming the stranger. He is an experienced CEO with strong ties to CWS in a variety of capacities as a global field worker and a senior leader. Rick is a person of deep faith and a tireless advocate for social justice. He will build on CWS’ many strengths and lead us with grace and perseverance into the next chapter of our vital mission.”

Santos succeeds Rev. John L. McCullough, who recently celebrated his 20th year as leader of the organization. Through McCullough’s guidance, CWS conceived of and implemented the long-term process of CWS 2020, an effort to embolden the agency in times of sweeping change across international relations, ecumenical and interfaith landscapes, and in the church as it is transformed in the Global North and South; the multi-year Africa Initiative; normalizing relationships with Cuba; transformative justice in Latin America; work embracing Roma communities in Eastern Europe;  supporting thousands of the organization’s CROP Hunger Walks; and has challenged CWS to be a leader in addressing global migration and climate justice.

Santos will continue to commit CWS to an ecumenical and interfaith approach, one rooted in justice, and invest in high impact and innovative program approaches that put local partners and communities at the center of the relief and development work.

Rick Santos was most recently the President and CEO of IMA World Health from 2009 to the end of 2018 where he led the organization through a period of transition that included significant organizational change, growth, and visibility. He directed effort at increasing program impact and building healthy communities in some of the most difficult places in the world. Santos began his time with Church World Service as a Program Officer in Vietnam, rising through the ranks to eventually serve as Coordinator of Strategic Planning and Evaluation. Prior to joining IMA World Health, he served as Director of Communication and Advocacy at International Relief and Development (IRD).

For more information contact CWS at