Since he became Chairman in 2001, Mercy Ships has seen exceptional growth including reaching the milestone of performing more than 100,000 surgical procedures on board its charity hospital ships, attracting 20,000 volunteers from 60 nations, and providing healthcare services and materials worth more than $1 billion in low- and middle-income countries.


Garden Valley, Texas, December 14, 2020: Mercy Ships, the global healthcare charity that through a fleet of first-class hospital ships provides free medical services to the world’s most disadvantaged peoples, today announced that Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III will retire as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mercy Ships International (“MSI”), effective January 1, 2021. MSI is the governing body that oversees the global charity and its operations. In a release issued separately today, Mercy Ships announced that long-term Board member and supporter Ruben S. Martin, III will succeed Mr. Ullman as Chairman.

Mr. Ullman, 74, is a highly experienced and widely respected business leader who has headed businesses across the US, Asia, and Europe and also has significant experience in government and academia. He joined the Board of MSI in 1993 and became Chairman in 2001. Mr. Ullman has overseen the transition of Mercy Ships from a family structured mission organization into a professional international charity led by experienced executives and an international board while still retaining a largely volunteer model for its ship-based healthcare and surgical delivery as well as medical capacity building in Africa.

Don Stephens, Founder of Mercy Ships, said, “With the benefit of Mike Ullman’s wisdom and stewardship, Mercy Ships has built and operated a fleet of two first-class hospital ships, attracted and motivated top talent to join our organization and Board, generated large increases in the number of volunteers serving from around the world, substantially expanded our global donor base, and successfully fulfilled our mission of delivering hope and healing to the world’s most disadvantaged peoples. We feel blessed for the enormous contributions Mike has made to Mercy Ships.”

Most recently, Mr. Ullman has worked closely with Mr. Stephens on the capital campaign that is enabling Mercy Ships to launch the Global Mercy™, the world’s largest purpose-built civilian hospital ship, in 2021.

Tom Stogner, CEO of Mercy Ships, said, “I have had the great pleasure of knowing Mike Ullman for many years and working closely with him since I joined Mercy Ships in 2017. His deep commitment to the Mercy Ships mission, high moral character of service, and personal support have not only set an outstanding model of a Mercy Ships volunteer but also have been essential driving forces in our organization’s remarkable success during his tenure. On behalf of our entire organization, I express my deepest thanks to Mike for all he has done Mercy Ships and everyone we serve around the world.”

Mr. Ullman said, “It has been one of the great pleasures of my life to work alongside the exceptional people and volunteers who enable Mercy Ships to carry out its mission of bringing free, world-class healthcare to disadvantaged people around the world. Today, Mercy Ships is a thriving organization with an exceptional leadership team and Board that has the talent, passion, and faith-based commitment to enable it to continue to expand its impact for those who need it most. My wife Cathy and I and our family are deeply grateful to have been involved with Mercy Ships for so long and we look forward to watching its ongoing growth and success.”

Over the course of his career, Mike Ullman has established himself as a business and philanthropic leader. He began his career at IBM in 1969 and later joined his alma mater the University of Cincinnati as VP of Business Affairs. He subsequently served as a White House Fellow in the Reagan Administration and then held leadership roles at Federated Department Stores and Wharf Holdings, a property development business headquartered in Hong Kong. He was then named Chairman and CEO of R.H. Macy & Co. and later DFS Group. He subsequently joined DFS’ parent company LVMH and, following that, joined JCPenney as Chairman and CEO in 2004. He held that role for seven years and then re-assumed it at the request of the Board in 2013 until 2016.

Mr. Ullman is currently the Chairman of the Board at Starbucks Corporation and the Lead Director of the Board of Taubman Centers. Throughout his career, Mr. Ullman has been recognized for leadership and commitment to humanitarian initiatives. He has been married to his wife Cathy for more than 50 years. They have six children and five grandchildren.




ABOUT MERCY SHIPS:  Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class healthcare services, capacity building and sustainable development to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1 billion, treating more than 2.5 million direct beneficiaries. Each year Mercy Ships has more than 1,600 volunteers from more than 40 nations. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, healthcare trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. Learn more about who we are.


For More Information:

Contact: Laura Rebouche ́
U.S. National Media Relations Director Mercy Ships
Office:+1 903.939.7000
Direct:+1 903.939.7127

For Int’l: Diane Rickard
International Media Relations Manager Mercy Ships

Hi-res photos and general Mercy Ships B-Roll video footage are available upon request.