For the first time in years, someone outside the famed Shriver family will lead Special Olympics.
The international organization said Tuesday that Janet Froetscher will take over as CEO. Tim Shriver, who has served in various leadership roles at Special Olympics since 1996 and is currently chairman and CEO, will stay on board as chairman. He will continue to serve as an “ambassador for the movement,” the group said.
Shriver’s mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founded the group in 1968.
Under Shriver’s leadership, Special Olympics has grown to 4.2 million athletes globally. The organization also offers unified sports — where athletes with and without disabilities compete on teams together — and health screenings, among other initiatives.
Beyond the group’s focus on athletics for individuals with intellectual disabilities, Shriver has made a public effort to encourage an end to use of the word “retard.”
Froetscher, who will start Oct. 21, comes to the group from the National Safety Council — a nonprofit focused on preventing injuries on the job, in homes and in the community — where she was president and CEO. She also previously served in a similar capacity at the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago.
Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect that Tim Shriver has held a variety of leadership roles at Special Olympics since 1996 including most recently serving as chairman and CEO.