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Operation Smile names Howard J. Unger as new CEO

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Operation Smile, a Norfolk-based international children’s medical charity, has announced changes to its leadership team. William P. Magee, Jr. — who along with his wife, Kathleen Magee — founded Operation Smile in 1982, moves to the role of executive chairman while Howard J. Unger becomes the nonprofit’s new CEO.  Mrs. Magee will continue in her role as president.

Unger has been affiliated with the charity since 1986. The elevation in position for both reflects Operation Smile’s ongoing expansion of surgical delivery and comprehensive care services for children born with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palate.

As executive chairman, Dr. Magee will focus on promoting advances in the delivery of surgical services in developing countries, enhancing charitable outreach and building public/private partnerships. Unger will manage operations and focus on strategic growth, program oversight, policy and advocacy and fundraising.  “These are exciting times for Operation Smile. We are approaching our 30th anniversary and in that time, the organization’s role has grown exponentially,” Dr. Magee said in a statement. Operation Smile has programs and foundations in more than 60 countries as well as 12 comprehensive care centers. 


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