Mark Hetfield Named President & CEO of HIAS

Posted on Mon, Feb 04, 2013 at 13:10 pm

 (New York, NY) – Mark Hetfield today was named President & CEO of HIAS, the global migration agency of the American Jewish community, effective immediately. The announcement was made by HIAS Chairman Marc Silberberg, following a unanimous vote by the HIAS Board of Directors. Hetfield was most recently HIAS’ Interim President & CEO while an extensive national and international search to fill the agency’s top position was conducted by a specially appointed board committee in collaboration with a search firm.

In a statement today, Marc Silberberg said: “Since we began our search in November, our search partner, BoardWalk Consulting, reached out to more than 200 targeted sources and prospects. The pool of sources and potential candidates was broad and diverse and interest in this HIAS opportunity was high.

“Having concluded this rigorous and comprehensive process, the Board reached a unanimous decision that Mark Hetfield lead HIAS. Our decision was firmly rooted in Mark’s widely recognized expertise and experience in global refugee and resettlement programs and advocacy, his exceptional track record of innovation and achievement with HIAS and the other organizations he has served, and his clear vision for HIAS’ future.”

In responding to this appointment, Mark Hetfield said: “When I was a HIAS caseworker in Rome in 1989, I fell in love with HIAS' mission and history of bringing persecuted Jews to lands where they could be proud of their traditions, their faith, and their heritage. Working for HIAS at that time felt like being a part of history. Nearly 25 years later, I am honored by this opportunity to lead the very talented and dedicated international HIAS team, which is now applying well over a century of Jewish migration experience to welcome and protect refugees of all faiths and ethnicities in 12 countries on five continents. As President and CEO, I intend to raise awareness of and support for HIAS' compelling work and refugee needs across the Jewish community."

Mark Hetfield began his career as a Russian-speaking caseworker with HIAS in Rome. He has served HIAS in six positions over four non-consecutive periods in three cities. During his time at HIAS, he rose from case worker through a series of promotions to Senior Vice President for Programs & Policy. On June 1, 2012, he was named Interim President & CEO.

For three years prior to rejoining HIAS in April 2006, Hetfield was on the staff of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, where he was the Commission’s senior advisor on refugee issues. While there, he specialized in the intersection of religious freedom and refugee law, and directed a comprehensive study, authorized by Congress, on the treatment of asylum seekers in expedited removal, released in February 2005. In addition, he served for five years in the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Washington and at the U.S. Embassy in Haiti. He also practiced immigration law while associated with the Washington D.C. office of the law firm of Fulbright and Jaworski. Hetfield received his juris doctor as well as his Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (BSFS) from Georgetown University. He and his wife, Miriam, live with their two teenage children in Bethesda, Maryland, where they are members of the Bethesda Jewish Congregation.