The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has announced that Matthew Myers will step down as the organization’s president. Yolanda C. Richardson who currently serves as the organization’s Executive Vice President for Global Programs has been appointed by the Board of Directors as the new president and CEO. The move will be effective July 1, 2023.

Myers served as the President for 23 years. He has been an outspoken anti-tobacco advocate throughout his tenure and has strongly favored the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s quest for implementing the Deeming Rule on Premium Cigars.  He has also led Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids supporting anti-tobacco policies at the federal, state, and international levels as well as in the private sector.  As the change takes place, Myers will serve in an advisory role to Richardson.

“I want to thank Matt for the extraordinary leadership he has provided to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and throughout his long career fighting the tobacco industry,” said Bill Novelli, Chair of Tobacco-Free Kids’ Board of Directors and President of the organization from 1996 to 1999 in a press release. “Matt and his team at Tobacco-Free Kids have contributed enormously to driving down smoking rates to record lows among both youth and adults in the U.S. and to reversing the tide of the global tobacco epidemic. He has played a central role in one of the greatest public health achievements of our time.”

“Yolonda Richardson is exceptionally experienced and qualified to lead the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids into the future,” Novelli said. “Yolonda has led our global programs since 2009 and has overseen efforts in more than 60 countries to enact tobacco control policies that protect children, improve health and save lives. Yolonda has also shaped and spearheaded the work of our Global Health Advocacy Incubator, which applies our high-impact advocacy expertise to address other urgent public health challenges across the globe. Yolonda is deeply committed to improving health and advancing health equity for all.”

“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and I am incredibly proud of what our team and our many partners have accomplished,” Myers said. “Through smart, tenacious advocacy and a commitment to health and social justice, we have helped bring about transformative change in the U.S. and around the world. No one is more qualified than Yolonda Richardson to take this organization to new heights and achieve even greater progress in saving lives not only from tobacco, but also from other critical public health issues.”

“I am deeply honored to be named President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and to continue the work started by Matt Myers and Bill Novelli 27 years ago. There is much to do, but there is also immense opportunity to make large-scale impact,” Richardson said.

Photo Credit: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids