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The World Jewish Congress has approved Michael Schneider as its next secretary general, the group said on Thursday. He is a former executive vice president of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
The appointment was authorized by the organization's steering committee in New York late Wednesday.
He will replace outgoing secretary-general Stephen E. Herbits on September 10.
The appointment is seen as a attempt by WJC President Ronald S. Lauder to breathe new life into an organization that has been plagued by infighting and allegations of financial mismanagement.
"Michael Schneider will help move the World Jewish Congress into the future," Lauder said in a statement. "Michael is universally respected and is no stranger to the Jewish communities of the world."
The South African-born Schneider served as executive vice president and CEO of the Joint Distribution Committee from December 1987 until May 2002 and currently leads the JDC's tsunami relief programs in Indonesia and an AIDS-related program in South Africa.
Herbits's resignation, which was long sought by Israeli and European officials of the organization, follows months of disputes over control of its Israel office, an issue that has not been resolved.
In a parting shot, Herbits accused former WJC vice president Isi Leibler, who had called on him to step down, of harming Lauder.
"Let me assure you, the more active you are the worse it is going to be for Ronald," a Herbits e-mail to Leibler circulating in the organization read.
Herbits was originally brought to the organization by then-WJC president Edgar M. Bronfman as part of an attempt to address much-publicized allegations of financial mismanagement.