FIRST Launches Search for CEO and Promotes Chris Rake to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer


MANCHESTER, N.H.,– AUGUST 19, 2021, FIRST®, an international not-for-profit organization with the mission to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators,  announced the FIRST Board of Directors will begin a search for a Chief Executive Officer, while also the promoting current Interim President, Chris Rake, to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. Rake will remain as the acting leader of the FIRST organization until a CEO is named.

“It’s been a pleasure to serve FIRST in various roles for many years. As a volunteer, mentor, and coach; as Vice President of Programs and most recently as Interim President,” Rake said. “I’m excited about this new opportunity and the confidence the FIRST Board of Directors has shown in me. I’m proud of the entire FIRST community and look forward to working together as we move through these challenging times and bring FIRST programs to more students around the world.”

"The world needs FIRST more than ever and we’re poised for exciting growth. Adding leadership capacity within FIRST headquarters by creating new CEO and COO roles will provide us the expertise and resources to capitalize on new opportunities,” said FIRST Board of Directors Co-Chair Kelly Ortberg.

Through its global network of diverse and innovative STEM leaders, FIRST will look for a passionate leader who will advance its mission to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators. The search will be led by the FIRST Board of Directors who has engaged a leading executive-search firm, Korn Ferry, to facilitate the effort.

“The power of FIRST and the impact our community can have on the rest of the world has shown through during the pandemic. For over 30 years, the Board of Directors and leadership team has worked to build a global movement. With Chris at the helm and a search for an innovative world-class CEO underway, we are more committed than ever to advancing the mission of FIRST,” said WPI President Laurie Leshin, Vice Chair of the FIRST Board of Directors and Chair of the Governance Committee.

About FIRST®
FIRST® is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 (PreK-12) that can be facilitated in school or in structured afterschool programs. An international not-for-profit organization founded by accomplished inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST has a proven impact on STEM learning, interest, and skill-building well beyond high school. Boosted by a global support system of mentors, coaches, volunteers, alumni, and sponsors that include over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, teams operate under a signature set of FIRST Core Values to conduct research, fundraise, design, and build robots, then compete and celebrate at local, regional, and international events. High school students are eligible for more than $80 million in college scholarships. Learn more at