Ira Schwartz, who has served as the head of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia for the past seven years, is leaving his post effective immediately the Jewish Exponent reported late on Friday afternoon.
“I am extremely proud of the many things we have achieved together over these last seven years,” Schwartz, 68, said in a short release. “It has been an honor and privilege to lead Philadelphia’s Federation and I am thankful for having had the opportunity.”
A search committee to fill the seat at one of the country’s major federations is underway says JSGP President Sherrie Savett and COO Alex Stroker will serve as the interim CEO.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank Ira for his seven years at the helm of the Federation,” said Savett. “We are grateful for his dedicated service and I wish Ira and his family nothing but the best.”
While CEO, Schwartz helped raise $13.5 million for Israel during its war with Lebanon and $2 million to launch an initiative to combat hunger in Philadelphia’s Jewish community.
Formerly the provost of Temple University, Schwartz oversaw the purchase of a new campus for the city’s non-denominational Jewish day school, Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy and was involved in the controversial decision to merge two local Jewish middle schools, Saligman Middle School and Barrack’s middle school.
In 2009 Schwartz came under fire in a Forward salary survey of Jewish executives for laying off five employees while not taking a pay cut from his $434,000 salary.
While his departure has been rumored in recent weeks, says the Exponent, JFGP gave no explanation for Schwartz’s abrupt departure.