FOUR PAWS Announces CEO Succession

Former CFO and long-time colleague, Josef Pfabigan, to follow Heli Dungler as CEO


BOSTON, MA - JAN 30, 2020 – Effective in early January 2020, Josef Pfabigan has become Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FOUR PAWS International. After the sudden passing of FOUR PAWS founder, Heli Dungler, on January 5th, the long-time CFO was nominated and has accepted the position. Pfabigan will now oversee management of all worldwide activities of the global animal welfare organization.

“FOUR PAWS is excellently positioned, thanks to  [Heli Dungler's] foresight, and in a position to preserve his memory and continue his visions and projects. We will continue to be the global animal welfare organization for animals under human influence that reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them.”

-Josef Pfabigan, new Chief Executive Officer of FOUR PAWS International

Like Heli Dungler, Josef Pfabigan grew up in the district of Waidhofen an der Thaya in Lower Austria. The two got to know each other at a young age: Pfabigan was a friend of Dungler’s and long-time colleague for decades. In 1988, when the Austrian-based organization FOUR PAWS was first founded, Pfabigan supported the activities of the young association on a voluntary basis. Then in 1997, and he accepted Heli Dungler’s invitation to join the organization permanently and started working on campaigns and projects. 

He was the co-founder of the now global FOUR PAWS International in 2002, and assumed the position of Chief Financial Officer on the management board in 2006. As the organization grew, Josef Pfabigan was particularly involved in the globalization of FOUR PAWS, overseeing the opening of many of the 13 FOUR PAWS offices around the world that exist today.

“All of us here at Four Paws are incredibly thankful for Josef Pfabigan for taking on such an important role for our organization. Since I joined the Four Paws USA team in 2019, Josef has been a both a friend and mentor to me. His dedication to this organization and its mission are undeniable. His leadership and guidance will heal us from the great loss of our beloved friend Heli, and lead the organization in the vision in which Heli imagined over thirty years ago."  

- Danika Oriol-Morway, Country Manager, Four Paws USA

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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organization for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need, and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organization advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy, and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam, as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. 

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