Press Releases

Board announces President Bas Vanderzalm’s retirement date; Elects Jeff Pinneo, former Horizon Air CEO, as Successor

by Marlene Minor | Dec 05, 2013

(Portland OR Feb 02, 2012 ) The board of directors of Medical Teams International announced today that Bas Vanderzalm will retire as president and chief executive officer (CEO). Vanderzalm will step down as CEO on June 30, 2012. He will stay on as president through June 30, 2013.

During his time as president, Vanderzalm will focus on leading teams to the field, speaking on behalf of the organization, writing, and providing advice and counsel to the incoming CEO. He has served the organization since September 15, 1997.

“For 40 years, Bas has worked for Christian organizations that have served the poor here in the U.S. and around the world,” said Ron King, chair of the board of Medical Teams International. “During Bas’ 14-plus years at Medical Teams International, the organization has grown to be one of the most respected Christian global health agencies in the country.

“Thanks to Bas’ leadership, we often are rated as one of the strongest, most efficient charities in the nation. Recently, Charity Navigator named us as one of its ‘10 Top Notch Charities’ among 5,000 charities evaluated,” King added.

“We also have sent more than $1.5 billion in humanitarian aid around the world. And each year, more than 2,000 volunteers serve in support of our programs,” King concluded.

To ensure the organization continues to build on its solid foundation of service around the world, the board of directors has elected Jeff Pinneo to serve as the agency’s next CEO, effective July 1, 2012. The board member’s announcement follows a year-long planning and recruitment process that commenced when Vanderzalm advised them of his retirement plans.

Pinneo, retired CEO and president of Horizon Air, will engage with Vanderzalm in a several month transition as “CEO-elect” leading up to the July 1 effective date.

“I am enthusiastic about the leadership, business and marketing skills Jeff brings to the organization,” said King. “Jeff knows how to lead an organization during changing times.”

“Medical Teams International has a great history of delivering health solutions through the strength of our staff, partners and volunteers. Jeff’s compassion and skills match spot-on with the mission of Medical Teams International as we demonstrate the love of Christ to those who are affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world,” King added.

Pinneo retired last year after 29 years with Horizon Air and its sister company, Alaska Airlines. He guided Horizon Air, expanding markets and revenues, and extending the reach and preference of the Horizon and Alaska brands. Under his leadership, Horizon Air was named Regional Airline of the Year by Air Transport World in 2007.

While Pinneo is best known for his professional work in the airline industry, he has devoted a great deal of his life to charitable organizations, including Medical Teams International. He has volunteered with the agency since 2006 and served on its board since 2008. Pinneo has also served on the advisory boards of Seattle Pacific University Center for Integrity in Business, Washington State University College of Business, and Point Loma Nazarene University. Pinneo will serve as the third leader in the 31-year history of Medical Teams International. Ron Post founded the organization in 1979. Vanderzalm was appointed as president in 1997.

Pinneo has witnessed the impact of the organization’s global health programs through the experiences of his wife, Janey Pinneo. She has served as a volunteer since 2005 with Medical Teams International, providing her skills as registered nurse on seven different volunteer teams in Uganda (3x), Haiti, New Orleans (Hurricane Katrina) and El Salvador.

Drawing on his personal faith and business experience, Pinneo looks forward to building on the strong traditions established by Vanderzalm, the organization’s staff and volunteers.

“The staff and volunteers of Medical Teams International have earned their reputation as one of the world’s leading global health and disaster response organizations,” Pinneo said. “It will be my privilege to lead and serve them as they further extend their reach and impact, to the benefit of the world’s most marginalized people.”