Carolyn Woo Begins Serving as President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services

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Dr. Woo will lead one of the world’s largest international humanitarian agencies.

Carolyn Woo

Carolyn Y. Woo, former dean of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, has assumed leadership of Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services (CRS), one of the world’s largest international humanitarian relief agencies.

As the seventh CEO and President of CRS, Woo will lead a global staff of 5,000 that serves more than 100 million people in nearly 100 countries. Dr. Woo succeeds Ken Hackett, who is retiring after leading CRS for the past 18 years.

Dr. Woo comes to CRS from the University of Notre Dame, where she had been dean of the Mendoza College of Business since 1997. Born in Hong Kong in 1954, Dr. Woo was educated in a school run by the Maryknoll Sisters. Traveling to the United States with enough money to attend Purdue University for 1 year, she won a scholarship to complete her undergraduate studies and eventually earned a Ph.D. Her research focused on strategy, entrepreneurship and organizational systems.

After 2 years in the private sector, Dr. Woo joined the Purdue faculty in 1981. When she left for Notre Dame, she was Purdue’s associate executive vice president for academic affairs. During her time at Notre Dame, the Mendoza College of Business was named the top undergraduate business school by Bloomberg Businessweek.

In 2004, Dr. Woo became one of the first lay members of the CRS board of directors, which until that time had been limited to bishops. She served on the board’s audit committee and traveled to CRS programs in Africa and Asia.

A widely published writer on a variety of business topics, Dr. Woo has received many honors during her academic career, including the International Council for Small Business Distinguished Scholar Award and the Excellence Award for Education from the Asian American Alliance. She has served on the board of a number of corporations and universities in addition to CRS.


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