Special Olympics has appointed Janet Froetscher as chief executive officer. She will replace Timothy Shriver, who started with the organization in 1996 as president and CEO and added the role of chairman in 2003. Shriver will remain chairman and continue as an ambassador of the mission of the Special Olympics movement.

Froetscher will begin her post on October 21 and will work from Special Olympics’ global headquarters in Washington, D.C. She will have full responsibility for leading the organization and all of its functions in seeking to fulfill the mission and achievement of the goals of Special Olympics’ strategic plan.

Froetscher transitions to Special Olympics from her role as president and CEO of the National Safety Council, whose mission is to save lives and prevent injuries in the workplace, on the roads and in homes and communities. Prior to her role with the NSC, she was the president and CEO of the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago.

“The results Special Olympics is creating around the world—4.2 million athletes, over 70,000 yearly competitions, activities in thousands of schools, and the world’s largest public health program for people with intellectual disabilities—are stunning achievements,” Froetscher said. “I look forward to learning from and joining the athletes, volunteers, coaches and families who make up this incredible movement.”

Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 4.2 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, the organization oversees 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 70,000 competitions throughout the year.