WASHINGTON (JTA) — Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, is stepping aside after more than three decades of helming the umbrella foreign policy group for the U.S. Jewish community. He will remain with the conference in an as yet undetermined capacity.
An email Monday from the current conference chairman, Stephen Greenberg, said Hoenlein, 73, who has been the group’s top professional since 1986, was timing the move to coincide with the search for a new chairman. Greenberg has been chair since April 2015.
“While Malcolm continues to be a uniquely vital and energetic leader, and an irreplaceable asset, he felt that a transition process should be put in place,” Greenberg said in the email. “Specifically, Malcolm will continue to serve the Conference as he has so effectively for more than three decades, as we seek an executive to assume responsibility for the Conference’s ongoing operations and activities. Malcolm will then focus on external relations as well as plans to structure the Conference for the years ahead.”
In an interview, Hoenlein said the process could take a year, and that he would remain on board beyond that to make his expertise available. “It was the responsible thing to do, I wanted it to be orderly, however long it takes, to put it in stages, it won’t be a one-shot deal,” he said. “It seems apparently simple, it is not at all.”
He would remain executive vice chairman until the transition, and his future title was not yet determined, Hoenlein said.
Few Jewish leaders have had as much influence over a longer time than Hoenlein, whose group is a coalition of more than 50 Jewish organizations from across the ideological spectrum.