The Board of Trustees of Youth For Understanding USA (YFU) has named Scott J. Messing, the organization’s Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, as its new President & Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2017. The appointment comes on the announcement that current President & CEO Michael E. Hill has been named President of The Chautauqua Institution in New York.
“While we are sad to see Michael step down as our President, he leaves us with a strong foundation to continue growing YFU USA’s mission in service to a dynamically changing world,” said Daryl Weinert, Chairman of the YFU USA Board of Trustees. “Michael came to us to during a time of great challenges, and he has worked tirelessly to stabilize and grow the organization.”
A seasoned executive and a former exchange student himself, Messing has served as Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at YFU since 2014, overseeing the day-to-day operations of YFU, including direct oversight for multiple operational departments.
Prior to his tenure at YFU, Messing served as Chief of Staff at the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), with oversight for the organization’s administration and the Attorney General management consulting program. Before that, Messing served three governors in Pennsylvania in his capacity as Chief Administrative Officer in the Governor’s Office of Administration, Deputy Secretary of Administration within the Pennsylvania Department of State, as well as Deputy Commissioner for Professional Licensing. In addition to his state service, he served as Director of Operations and Global Administration for a technology start-up, boo.com.
Messing’s passion for international education and exchange is evident by his experience alone. He had his first exchange experience to Germany while in high school, followed a few years later by an academic year at the University of Heidelberg during his undergraduate education from Bucknell University, where he graduated with a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and German. Messing also earned his Juris Doctorate from Pennsylvania State’s Dickinson School of Law, where he specialized in international law and alternative dispute resolution. He is currently a “host father” to two YFU exchange students in addition to prior hosting experiences with YFU.
“The transition that YFU began during Michael Hill’s leadership has been exceptional. I am proud and honored to follow in his footsteps and continue this critical work,” Messing said. “It seems like only yesterday that I began mowing lawns in junior high school to raise money for my first international exchange experience in Germany. That one day I would lead one of the world’s premier intercultural exchange and education organizations was a dream I had early on, and am thrilled to have realized it with YFU! The challenges we face in today’s world are even more complex than those faced shortly after World War II, the time in which YFU was founded to repair relations between the U.S. and Germany. YFU’s mission is greater now than ever before, and I look forward to being a continuing part of that ever-evolving solution.”
“Michael Hill built a strong executive team at YFU, and we are fortunate to have Scott take the helm during a dynamic period in YFU’s organizational life. He will make this change in leadership a smooth one, and there will be no interruption in the services and programs YFU provides to the global community,” Weinert said.
“I want to thank the thousands of volunteers, students, international partners, and especially the staff and our dynamic Board of Trustees for this incredible opportunity and honor to serve as YFU’s President. Scott is going to be make an incredible President, and I look forward to supporting him as a YFU volunteer,” Hill said.
“YFU is lucky to have the best candidate already within the organization, and we are excited that this appointment will allow YFU USA to continue a strategic plan recently passed by the organization without interruption,” said Weinert.