John Hewko, who takes over as general secretary of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation on July 1, was in Evanston Feb. 28 and March 1 to meet with key staff personnel at the organization's world headquarters. While in the district, he attended the March 1 meeting of the Evanston Lighthouse club, along with Gov. Bruce Baumberger, DGE Carlos Frum, and PDG Pam Kerr.


Hewko, an attorney, was an international partner from 1992 to 2004 at the Chicago law firm, Baker & McKenzie, where he specialized in international mergers and acquisitions, privatizations, and other international corporate matters. He participated in the development of the firm’s Moscow office and was the managing partner of its offices in Kyiv and Prague.  While in Ukraine in the early 1990s, he assisted in the development of the initial draft of the new Ukrainian constitution and was a charter member of the first Rotary club in Kyiv. 




In 2004, Hewko joined the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a newly established US government agency designed to deliver foreign assistance to the world’s poorest countries in a new and innovative manner.  As Vice President for Operations and Compact Development, he was responsible for the development and negotiation of foreign assistance agreements with 26 countries in Africa, Asia, South America, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union.  During his tenure, agreements totaling $6.3 billion were completed with 18 countries for projects in infrastructure, agriculture, water and sanitation, health, and education. 


Hewko has written extensively on international relations and other issues, including opinion articles in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Christian Science Monitor.  In addition to his native English, he speaks five other languages.  He is married to Margarita and has one daughter, Maria, who will be graduating this spring from high school in the Washington area.  Hewko's father is a Rotarian in Clarkston, MI. 

He begins work in July at a key moment in Rotary’s 106-year history. Hewko will play a lead role in the implementation of the organization’s newly revised strategic plan that envisions Rotary’s expanded engagement in areas such as maternal and child health, water and sanitation, disease prevention and treatment, basic education and literacy, economic and community development, and peace studies and conflict prevention/resolution. His tenure could also see the successful conclusion of Rotary’s principal humanitarian initiative: its 25-year campaign to eradicate the crippling disease polio, a goal that is more than 99 percent complete.

Hewko also will interact with government and business leaders to enhance Rotary’s global visibility and forge new strategic partnerships worldwide to achieve common objectives and maximize the use of resources. He also will work to expand and strengthen Rotary’s current relationship with organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and others.

In announcing Hewko’s hiring, Rotary International President Ray Klinginsmith hailed his "visionary leadership" and predicted that under Hewko’s leadership Rotary will "continue to grow in numbers, stature, and involvement in making the world a better place."

Hewko emerged from a field of 440 potential candidates for Rotary’s top job. The Rotary search committee worked with Korn/Ferry International, the world’s largest executive search firm. Hewko replaces Edwin Futa, who is retiring after 10 years as general secretary.