RI incoming president not who we expected

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Holger Knaack

German Rotarian Holger Knaack is expected to take office on July 1 as president of Rotary International for 2020-21 after an unusual set of circumstances.

The Nominating Committee’s decision to select him follows the April resignation of President-nominee Sushil Gupta due to health reasons.

Michael McGovern, chair of the Nominating Committee, issued a statement explaining the process for selecting a new presidential nominee. It also addresses some controversy in the use of social media to perhaps try to influence the committee’s final decision. Interesting reading.

Knaack, a member of the Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln, Germany, says to build a stronger membership Rotary must focus on increasing the number of female members and transitioning Rotaractors into Rotarians.

Knaack says he believes the People of Action campaign offers new public awareness possibilities for Rotary. “This campaign conveys our global image while still respecting differences in regions and cultures,” he says.

A Rotary member since 1992, Knaack has served Rotary as treasurer, director, moderator, member and chair of several committees, representative for the Council on Legislation, zone coordinator, training leader, and district governor.

He is an endowment/major gifts adviser and was co-chair of the Host Organization Committee for the 2019 Rotary International Convention in Hamburg.

He is the CEO of Knaack KG, a real estate company. He previously was a partner and general manager of Knaack Enterprises, a 125-year-old family business.

Knaack is a founding member of the Civic Foundation of the City of Ratzeburg and served as president of the Golf-Club Gut Grambek. He also is founder and chair of the Karl Adam Foundation.

He and his wife, Susanne, are Major Donors to The Rotary Foundation and members of the Bequest Society.


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