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Room to Read Announces Expanded Management Team To Support Continued Organizational Growth

January 15, 2009

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Room to Read, an award-winning international education NGO that is impacting the lives of millions of children in the developing world, today announced a set of management team changes to drive the organization as it continues its rapid growth. Founder and CEO John Wood will transition to the position of executive chairman. Erin Keown Ganju, the organization's co-founder and chief operating officer, will be promoted to chief executive officer. In addition, two new members join Room to Read's management team: Steven Zimmerman as chief of operations and Joanne Chou as chief financial officer.

As CEO, Ganju will oversee all day-to-day operations for the organization with a special focus on continuing to grow the global team, and the reach of Room to Read. Wood will become executive chairman, a newly-created full-time position focused on long-term strategy, global Board development, fundraising, public speaking and serving as the primary spokesperson for Room to Read. He will also continue to serve on the Room to Read Board of Directors.

According to Wood, the management restructuring, done in close consultation with the executive staff, board of directors and an organizational design consultant, will accelerate Room to Read's growth and global expansion to fulfill its promise of educating millions of the world's children.

"As always, Room to Read is daring to think big about our vision and mission. Undertaking this restructuring is a mark of strength and confidence," said Wood. "I've always considered Erin, who has made amazing contributions to this organization, a co-founder of Room to Read. Now, with the addition of the other key members to our management team, we will continue to advance toward our goal of impacting ten million children across the developing world by 2020."

Since 2003, Ganju has been Room to Read's chief operating officer, managing Room to Read's programs and operations worldwide. Ganju has been instrumental in creating the scalable approach Room to Read employs to create flexible, adaptable programming to meet the diverse needs of communities around the world. Ganju has spent extensive time working and living overseas in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam, where she witnessed firsthand the need to enhance developing countries' educational systems.

Prior to joining Room to Read in 2001, Ganju held high-ranking positions with Dejima, Inc., Network Commerce, Unilever N.V., and Goldman, Sachs & Co. Ganju holds a combined bachelor's and master's degree in international relations and economics from The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C.

"I am honored by the recognition and look forward to continue working closely with our stakeholders to take Room to Read into the next chapter in its history," said Ganju. "I am confident that the enhancements to our management structure will not only strengthen the leadership team, but also provide a strong basis to continue building our effective and efficient program model, thereby allowing us to impact more children."

New Additions to Executive Staff

Room to Read also announced the recent hiring of Steven Zimmerman as chief of operations and Joanne Chou as chief financial officer.

Zimmerman joins Room to Read with an extensive background in international program design and management, having held senior and executive-level positions with Save the Children, AFS Intercultural and Mercy Corps. His past positions have required a significant level of external representation as well as negotiation with donors, host governments and partner organizations. An accountant and economist by training, Zimmerman has more than 25 years of experience in strategic planning, the design of innovative programs, and the recruitment, supervision and support of staff charged with the implementation of high-impact programs. In his role as chief of operations, Zimmerman will be responsible for leadership and assistance with strategic and tactical execution of all programmatic, country and operational issues related to day-to-day management of Room to Read. Zimmerman received his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Southern California and studied international economics at the Universite de Tunis and French literature at the Universite de Grenoble, France.

Chou joined Room to Read as chief financial officer this past October. Chou brings more than 20 years of experience in banking and international trade, real estate and corporate finance, investment management and marketing strategy. Prior to joining Room to Read, she was managing director of finance at MacFarlane Partners where she was responsible for obtaining financing for the firm's real estate investments. Chou also held previous executive positions at Barclays Global Investors, Bank of America in Hong Kong and The Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan. Chou holds an Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley; a law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles; and bachelor's degrees in history and biological sciences from Stanford University.