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February 7, 2024
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind “Sesame Street,” has announced Steve Youngwood has decided to step down as chief executive officer and member of the board of trustees, in concurrence with the board. The board has appointed Sherrie Westin, president, Sesame Workshop, as interim chief executive officer. Youngwood will remain available to the organization in an informal advisory role for a period to help ensure a smooth transition.
The board is engaging an executive search firm and has initiated a search process to identify a permanent chief executive officer.
“Under Steve’s leadership, Sesame Workshop has expanded its reach and impact globally, and is well positioned for ongoing success,” says Gabrielle Sulzberger, chair, board of trustees, Sesame Workshop. “On behalf of the board, I thank Steve for his commitment to Sesame Workshop, our mission and people and wish him the best in his next chapter.”
“It has been a highlight of my professional career to work alongside the talented and creative individuals on the Sesame Workshop team,” says Youngblood. “I look forward to watching Sesame Workshop’s immensely positive social impact continue long into the future.”
Westin has held leadership positions in the media, nonprofit and public service sectors and possesses a deep understanding of Sesame Workshop. She is a 25-year Sesame Workshop veteran. In her role as president, Westin has led the organization’s efforts to serve vulnerable children through mass media and targeted initiatives in the U.S. and around the world. In December 2017, the Workshop was awarded the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural $100 million grant from its 100&Change competition for the partnership Westin spearheaded with the International Rescue Committee to bring critical early education to children in the Syrian response region, creating the largest early childhood intervention in the history of humanitarian response.
“Sherrie is a highly regarded executive who knows Sesame Workshop well and has played an important role in advancing our mission,” says Sulzberger. “The board is incredibly grateful to Sherrie for stepping into the interim CEO role. We are confident that with her unique mix of skills, experience and insight, Sherrie is the right interim leader to drive the organization forward while we work to identify our next permanent CEO.”
“Sesame Workshop’s mission has never been more critical, and I am honored to step into this role on an interim basis,” says Westin. “We are fortunate to have an incredibly deep bench of purpose-driven individuals, and I look forward to working closely with the entire team as we advance the important work underway to meet the needs of young children in an evolving media and education landscape. We will continue investing in our best-in-class programming and launching new resources to provide access to quality early learning to children around the globe.”
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