Ira Schwartz, the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia since July 2006, is leaving his position, effective immediately.
Sherri Savett, the president of Federation, said a search committee is now being formed to find Schwartz’s successor. The Federation has named COO Alex Stroker as interim CEO until a successor is in place.
“On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Ira for his seven years at the helm of the Federation,” said Savett, who declined to comment beyond the news release issued Friday afternoon.
“We are grateful for his dedicated service and I wish Ira and his family nothing but the best.”
For his part, Schwartz said he was “extremely proud of the many things we have achieved together over these last seven years.”
He added: “It has been an honor and privilege to lead Philadelphia’s Federation and I am thankful for having had the opportunity.”
Rumors of Schwartz’s departure have been swirling around the community for weeks. As of Friday afternoon, the Federation staff had not yet been informed of his departure.
Schwartz’s last official event was to host a reception at the Community Services Building for a visiting group from Israel’s National Defense College on May 2.
There he emphasized the Federation’s commitment to Israel and Jewish identity-building programs. Those were among the achievements Schwartz and Savett touted since Schwartz’s arrival in 2006.
Prior to coming to Federation, Schwartz, 68, served as provost of Temple University and was involved in Jewish communal activities. He was recruited by Federation’s former president Leonard Barrack, and was tasked with restructuring and streamlining Federation’s operations.
Under his tenure, the Federation raised millions for an Israel Emergency Campaign in response to Israel’s war in Lebanon and launched a new food choice initiative in the Northeast to help alleviate hunger issues.
He also oversaw the purchase of a new campus in Bryn Mawr, where the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy relocated. He also was involved in the controversial decision to merge Barrack’s middle school with the Perelman Jewish Day School’s Saligman Middle School, which is slated to take effect in the fall.