PITTSBURGH (AP) — Teresa Heinz Kerry says she'll step down as chairwoman of the Heinz Endowments and her three sons will fill the position in a series of four-year rotations starting this fall.
The plan was released Monday after two years of discussions with the foundation's board of directors and its top executive. It was unanimously approved by the 14-member board. Heinz Kerry, 77, plans to step down in October to pave the way for her sons.
"This is an enormously proud and fulfilling moment for me," Heinz Kerry said in a statement. "For some while, I have considered how our family's deep and extensive philanthropic legacy will continue to grow and to strengthen over time, and I am delighted that the groundwork is laid for the next generation to engage in the leadership of the foundation."
Andre Heinz, 46, will be the first son to chair the board that oversees the $1.6 billion foundation, which distributed more than $70 million in grants last year. Chris Heinz, 43, will take over in 2020, followed by H. John Heinz IV, 49, in 2024.
"All three are exceptional men who have deep concern for community and a passion for this organization," said Grant Oliphant, president of The Heinz Endowments. "I'm intrigued to see how their interplay will affect our thinking over the next decade."
Heinz Kerry will continue to serve on the board and its executive committee after she steps down.
Heinz Kerry took the helm in 1991 after the death of her first husband, Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. John Heinz, whose great-grandfather founded the company known for its ketchup. She is now married to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.