NCOA CEO Announces Retirement

Firman transformed NCOA into a force for social change during 25-year tenure

Jean Van Ryzin
Senior Director, Communications

James Firman, EdD
James Firman, EdD

Arlington, VA (November 25, 2019) – After 25 years with the National Council on Aging (NCOA), James Firman, President and CEO, today announced his plans to retire from NCOA to pursue new endeavors that continue his focus on transforming the lives of older Americans. Firman will remain in his role until a successor is appointed to ensure a smooth transition.

“This transition comes at a time of strength for our organization,” said James Knickman, chair of the board of directors. “Jim has been instrumental in transforming NCOA into a force for social change. His bold leadership over the past 25 years has positioned NCOA to improve the lives of 40 million older adults by 2030 by pioneering groundbreaking programs and policies that have redefined what aging means in America. Jim has built a strong management team that will deliver even greater impact in the future. We are pleased that he is willing to advise the next CEO during the onboarding period. On behalf of our board, I celebrate and thank Jim for his many contributions.”

Since Firman became president and CEO in January 1995, NCOA has developed nationally acclaimed programs to improve the health, independence, and economic security of older Americans. The organization has helped millions of low-income older adults access critical benefits through the introduction of, the Access to Benefits Coalition, and improvements to Medicare and Medicaid. NCOA has successfully advocated for long-term services and reforms to the Affordable Care Act that represent the interests of Americans aged 60 and older. He has been a relentless advocate for the importance of community-based organizations, as well as their need to transform themselves to respond to growing needs. In recent years, Firman co-created and launched NCOA’s Aging Mastery Program®, an innovative curriculum that has already helped more than 20,000 older adults take charge of the rest of their lives.

“For more than two decades, I have been fortunate to work with the extraordinary people of NCOA as we have given voice to the dignity and autonomy of older Americans and to the community organizations that serve them,” said Firman. “I am so proud of the strong organization we have built together. This is the right time for me to transition to a new phase in my life. In the next chapter of my career, I intend to focus on developing early-stage innovations that can transform the lives of older adults, and I hope some of them will help further the great work of NCOA.”

The board will consider both internal and external candidates for the position and will launch a thorough national search and selection process for the organization’s next CEO early next year.

About NCOA
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well. Since 1950, our mission has not changed: Improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. NCOA empowers people with the best solutions to improve their own health and economic security—and we strengthen government programs that we all depend on as we age. Every year, millions of people use our signature programs BenefitsCheckUp®, My Medicare Matters®, and the Aging Mastery Program® to age well. By offering online tools and collaborating with a nationwide network of partners, NCOA is working to improve the lives of 40 million older adults by 2030. Learn more at and @NCOAging.