Chief Scout Executive

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Chief Scout Executive
Chief Scout Executive.png
Owner Boy Scouts of America
Created November 28, 1911
 Scouting portal

The Chief Scout Executive is the top professional of the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. In most similar non-profit organizations, this is equivalent to the position of national executive director or secretary general.

The current Chief Scout Executive is Michael Surbaugh. Surbaugh took office on October 1, 2015 and succeeded Wayne Brock.[1]

This position should not be confused with the position of Chief Scout. Many National Scout associations still use this position; however, it is always for a volunteer position, not a paid one. In the BSA, only three people (Ernest Thompson Seton, James E. West and Elbert K. Fretwell) have held the position of Chief Scout, which is separate and distinct from the position of CSE.


Edgar M. Robinson was the YMCA's first International Secretary for Boys' Work and had written an article in the national YMCA's magazine praising the Scouting program in use at many YMCA's in the country. He saw the need to help William D. Boyce with the organization of the BSA, met with Boyce on May 3, 1910, and agreed to help Boyce organize the BSA national leadership at its June meeting. He recommended John Alexander, another YMCA executive, be appointed the managing secretary, and Alexander served in that role from June until the end of the year, when the national executive board appointed James E. West to that position, effective January 1911. West took on the position initially for a sixth month period, settled into the role, and assumed the new position of Chief Scout Executive by agreement with the board in November 1911.

There have been 13 men who have served in the position of Chief Scout Executive during the long history of the BSA. All other professional Scouters and employees of the National Council BSA work under the direction of the Chief Scout Executive.

Over the history of the BSA, the sitting Chief Scout Executive has during some periods appointed a Deputy Chief Scout Executive and/or one or more Assistant Chief Scouts Executive. In most cases, these men reported directly to the CSE, but in some cases, an assistant CSE worked under the direction of the Deputy CSE. Although the Deputy CSE has normally been considered the "right hand" person to the Chief Scout Executive, there is not an automatic succession to the top position, which has been filled by appointment by a committee of the national executive board on each occasion that a new Chief Scout Executive was needed.

List of Chief Scouts Executive[edit]

1st 1911–1943 James E. West (1876–1948) Silver Buffalo 1926 OA DSA 1940
2nd 1943–1948 Elbert K. Fretwell (1878–1962) Silver Buffalo 1938
3rd 1948–1960 Arthur A. Schuck (1895–1963) Bronze Wolf 1960 Silver Buffalo 1950 OA DSA 1942
4th 1960–1967 Joseph A. Brunton, Jr. (1902–1988) Eagle Scout 1918 DESA 1969 Bronze Wolf 1967 Silver Buffalo 1973 OA DSA 1946
5th 1967–1976 Alden G. Barber (1919–2003) Eagle Scout 1933 DESA 1969 Bronze Wolf 1975 OA DSA 1975
6th 1976–1979 Harvey L. Price (1914–2005) Eagle Scout 1929 DESA 1977 OA DSA 1977
7th 1979–1984 James L. Tarr (1919–2008) Eagle Scout 1935 DESA 1979 Bronze Wolf 1983 OA DSA 1979
8th 1985–1993 Ben H. Love (1930–2010) Bronze Wolf 1990 OA DSA 1986
9th 1993–2000 Jere B. Ratcliffe (1937–2015) Eagle Scout 1955 DESA 1991 Bronze Wolf 1997 OA DSA 1998
10th 2000–2007 Roy Williams (1944–present) OA DSA 2000
11th 2007–2012 Bob Mazzuca (1947–present) Eagle Scout 1964 DESA 2009 OA DSA 2009
12th 2012–2015 Wayne Brock (1948–present) Eagle Scout 1965 DESA 2009 OA DSA 2009
13th 2015–present Michael B. Surbaugh Eagle Scout 1976

List of Deputy Chief Scouts Executive[edit]

1st 1919–1943 George J. Fisher (1871–1960)
2nd 1944 Perry A. Lint (?–1944)
3rd 1945–1960 Pliny Hunnicut Powers (1895–1966)
4th 2009–2012 Wayne Brock (1948–present)
5th 2013–2015 Gary Butler

List of Assistant Chief Scouts Executive[edit]

  • (1931–1943) Arthur A. Schuck
  • (1951–1952) James P. Fitch[2]
  • (1957–1962) Charles M. Heistand[2][3]
  • (1961–?) Robert L. Billington
  • (1963–1968) Marsh M. Ammerman[4][5]
  • (1970s) Marshall Monroe[6]
  • (1999–2006) David J. Ross II[7][8]
  • (2001–2006) Kenneth Connelly[9]
  • (2006–2007) Bob Mazzuca,[10] was promoted to Chief Scout Executive
  • (2006–2011) James Terry[11]
  • (2006–2009) Wayne Brock,[12] was promoted to Deputy Chief Scout Executive
  • (2010–2013) Gary Butler, was promoted to Deputy Chief Scout Executive
  • (2010–present) Brad Farmer
  • (2011–2015) Alf Tuggle

See also[edit]

External links and sources[edit]