American Cancer Society names 1st female CEO

Karen Knudsen, PhD, will serve as the American Cancer Society's next CEO, marking the first time a woman has served in the position in the organization's 107-year history. Dr. Knudsen will start June 1. 

Dr. Knudsen is the executive vice president of oncology services and enterprise director for Jefferson Health's Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Among many leadership roles, she is also the president of the Association of American Cancer Institutes, and serves on the National Cancer Institutes' board of advisors. 

Dr. Knudsen is the first scientific and cancer researcher to serve in the organization's CEO role, according to an April 12 news release. 

She replaces Gary Reedoy, who has held the position since 2015. 

Dr. Knudsen will simultaneously serve as CEO of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the organization's advocacy branch. 

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