World ORT elects Shmuel Sisso as new Director General and CEO


Following an extensive global search and recruitment process, World ORT today announced that its Board of Trustees has elected an Israeli, Shmuel Sisso, as its new Director General and Chief Executive Officer. Subject to the approval of a work permit, Mr Sisso will take over from acting DG/CEO Sonia Gomes de Mesquita at World ORT’s London office in November.

He will succeed the former permanent DG/CEO Robert Singer, who left earlier this year to become CEO of the World Jewish Congress, after 14 years leading World ORT. Today’s World ORT is in a sound position both operational and financially.

Shmuel Sisso was born Morocco and has been the highly successful Mayor of Kiryat Yam in Northern Israel since 2003, elected last time with an unprecedented 83% of the vote, backed by cross-party support. Previously, he was the Israeli Consul-General (holding the rank of Ambassador) in New York. As a qualified lawyer, he has also run his own law firm and spent some years as a partner in a New York firm.

Alongside his main responsibilities, Shmuel has held an extraordinary range of past and present roles in contributing to public causes. This includes seven years as Chairman of the Ha’Igud Society for the Transfer of Technology (a foreign ministry institution providing Israeli foreign aid and international cooperation with developing countries), and four years as Vice-President of the Sephardic World Congress. He is a Judge of the World Zionist Movement’s Supreme Court, and a member of the Board for the Advancement of Post-Elementary Education Association.

Shmuel Sisso’s involvement with World ORT is extensive, as a member of the Board of Representatives and Member of the Nominations and Allocations Committees. He worked very closely with World ORT in a major regeneration project in Kiryat Yam, creating a multi-million dollar Science, Educational, Cultural and Sports Campus.

Shmuel, who speaks fluent Hebrew, Arabic and English, is a law graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and holds a Master’s Degree in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey in the United States.

Commenting on the appointment, World ORT President Jean de Gunzburg said: “We are delighted to have elected someone of Shmuel Sisso’s skill and experience to this post. Shmuel is an outstanding leader, with a deep commitment to education and development. We are confident he can build on the strong foundations and the highly professional team developed by Robert Singer to help us take World ORT through the next phase of its future. We look forward to welcoming him on board.”?

He added: “I also want to take this opportunity to thank Sonia Gomes de Mesquita for the superb job she has done in covering this role since Robert left. Sonia decided some time ago to pursue a new stage in her career outside World ORT once Shmuel has settled in, and she goes with our very best wishes and goodwill.”? (It has separately been announced that Sonia will become the new WJC Chief Program Officer from November.)

Shmuel Sisso commented: “I am honored and delighted to have been elected to this prestigious position. I have a great passion for World ORT and all that it does, and feel confident I can make a real contribution to the future of the organization, working with its excellent professionals and outstanding lay leaders around the world.”?

World ORT was advised in this appointment by Korn/Ferry International Inc, the world’s leading boardroom consultancy.

About World ORT

World ORT is the world’s largest Jewish education and vocational training non-governmental organisation, with past and present activities in more than 100 countries. This year, through its network of schools, colleges, training centres and programmes, World ORT will benefit more than 200,000 people “モ young and old, Jewish and non-Jewish.

World ORT’s mission is:

· To work for the advancement of Jewish and other people through training and education;

· To provide communities wherever they are with the skills and knowledge necessary to cope with the complexities and uncertainties of their environment;

· To foster economic self-sufficiency, mobility and a sense of identity through use of state-of-the-art technology;

· To support non-sectarian economic and social development through international cooperation programmes in under-developed parts of the world, with vocational training and the provision of technical assistance.

Founded in Tsarist Russia in 1880, the name ‘ORT’ was coined from the acronym of the Russian words which mean The Society for Trades and Agricultural Labour. It is an acronym that has stuck through 130 years of education and training, moving from its roots in Russia to become a global organisation, hence the name World ORT. ORT is proud of its history and roots, and that it still carries the motto of “Educating for Life” into today.