The executive staff manages operations at RI World Headquarters, including member services and programs, finances, technology, development, strategy, legal services, and our international offices in São Paulo, Zurich, New Delhi, Pune, Seoul, Tokyo, and Parramatta (Sydney).
General Secretary and Chief Executive Officer
Rotary Club of Kyiv
John Hewko is the general secretary and chief executive officer of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation. From 2004 to 2009, Hewko was vice president for operations and compact development for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government agency established in 2004 to deliver foreign assistance to the world’s poorest countries.
Deputy General Secretary
Rotary Club of Evanston
Michele Berg helps lead the day-to-day operations of the Secretariat, ensuring effective internal operating policies and implementing strategies and programs.
Berg graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a major in Italian and earned her MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a dual specialization in marketing and international business. Berg is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP). She is past president of the Rotary Club of Evanston, a Paul Harris Fellow, a Paul Harris Society member, and a Benefactor.
General Manager & Chief Communications Officer
David Alexander leads a team of communications professionals who work alongside clubs to tell Rotary's story. He directs global communications efforts in 10 languages, developing regional public relations campaigns and overseeing Rotary's website, The Rotarian magazine, and 30+ regional magazines. In 2013 Alexander's team earned a PR News Platinum PR Award for its work on the End Polio Now campaign.
Alexander has 20 years of communications experience. Before Rotary, he directed media efforts at the National Safety Council, the leading safety advocacy organization in the U.S., and worked in public relations for Apple Inc.
General Manager & Chief Programs and Member Services Officer
Jim Barnes leads more than 160 professionals who provide Rotarians membership development, education and training, meetings and events, programs, grants, and club and district support.
Barnes worked at Rotary earlier in his career and then spent 15 years as a chief operating officer, chief financial officer, and executive vice president for corporate aviation companies before returning to the Secretariat. He has also worked as director of Audit Services at Rotary.
Barnes graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a degree in accounting and is a certified public accountant, certified management accountant, and certified internal auditor. He is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow.
General Manager & Chief Financial Officer
Julie Burke oversees all aspects of the financial operations of Rotary International and its charitable arm, The Rotary Foundation. Her responsibilities include financial management, financial planning and analysis, treasury and investment, corporate reporting, accounting services, and risk management.
Burke was previously chief financial officer at two large nonprofit organizations after spending 10 years in public accounting at KPMG.
Burke graduated from Marquette University with a degree in accounting and has a master’s degree in health services management from Webster University. She is a certified public accountant and a certified global management accountant.
Head of Global People & Talent (formerly Human Resources)
Kristopher Newbauer oversees all aspects of employment, including talent acquisition, employee relations, performance management, professional development, compensation, benefits, and payroll for Rotary’s global workforce.
Newbauer holds a graduate degree in global human resource education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and one in human resources management from North Park University in Chicago (both summa cum laude). He has worked at Rotary since 2004.
Steven Routburg and his staff counsel the leadership of Rotary International, The Rotary Foundation, and the Secretariat staff on a wide range of issues about law and legal and corporate policy. The Office of the General Counsel also supports the organization’s Council on Legislation and manages the grant stewardship function for The Rotary Foundation.
Routburg joined Rotary’s staff in 1996 and has been general counsel since 1999. He graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and received his undergraduate business degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Routburg is a Paul Harris Fellow.
General Manager & Chief Philanthropy Officer
Rotary Club of Evanston Lighthouse
Eric Schmelling leads the area responsible for facilitating contributions to The Rotary Foundation, which grants more than $200 million annually to eradicate polio and funds projects and scholarships in communities worldwide.
Schmelling is an alumnus of Beloit College in Wisconsin and received his M.A. from Central European University in Hungary. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Evanston Lighthouse. Schmelling is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow and Benefactor.
General Manager & Chief Strategic Officer
Rotary Club of Eden Prairie Noon
Tom Thorfinnson and his team work with Rotary staff and members to develop and implement organization-wide strategy and set and measure goals. The team provides research, evaluation, business information, and project management, and encourages creative thinking and innovation.
Thorfinnson graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, with a degree in mathematics and economics. He also has a law degree from Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A Rotarian since 1980, Thorfinnson has served Rotary as a director and a Foundation trustee and vice chair. He is a Level 2 Major Donor of The Rotary Foundation.