The board of Sesame Workshop has elected Steve Youngwood CEO and Sherrie Westin president in response to the planned retirement of Jeffrey D. Dunn.
The leadership transition will begin in January. Dunn, who has been CEO since 2014, will become executive chairman and will advise Youngwood and Westin until his retirement June 30.
“Jeff has been an extraordinary CEO and an incredible leader at a critical moment for Sesame Workshop and the world,” said Board Chair Jane D. Hartley in a news release. “On his watch, the organization has grown tremendously, expanding its reach and delivering on its mission to help children everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. I want to thank Jeff and my fellow board members for their guidance in this transition. We are so fortunate to have Steve Youngwood and Sherrie Westin as the perfect leaders to continue this important work. I am excited for the future and know Sesame is in good hands.”
“Jeff Dunn has been an exceptional leader of Sesame Workshop, leading us through challenging times and leaving us stronger than we’ve ever been,” said Joan Ganz Cooney, co-founder of Sesame Workshop and a lifetime honorary trustee. “I am confident that Steve and Sherrie are the right team to carry us into the future and continue to deliver on our mission.”
Youngwood, currently COO and president of the Workshop’s media and education division, joined the organization in 2015. He has led expansion of programs now featured on PBS, HBO Max, Apple, CNN and YouTube and grew partnerships with McGraw Hill. Before joining the Workshop, he held several management roles at Nickelodeon.
Westin, currently president of the Workshop’s social impact and philanthropy division, joined the organization in 2005. In the past six years, she has led distribution of more than $300 million in grants, along with the successful effort to win the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition. She previously worked as an EVP for ABC.