Philip M. Gattone to Step Down as President & CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Foundation Enlists Odgers Berndtson to Lead New CEO Search

LANDOVER, Md. — The Epilepsy Foundation announced today that Philip M. Gattone, M.Ed., is stepping down from his position as president and chief executive officer of the Epilepsy Foundation effective December 31, 2019. Robert W. Smith, chair of the Epilepsy Foundation’s Board of Directors, will serve as interim CEO, effective January 1, 2020.

“It’s been a privilege to spend the last 18 years of my career with the Epilepsy Foundation, and eight of those years as its president and CEO,” said Gattone. “I have had the honor of working with so many talented people at all levels of the organization who selflessly give their time, talent and resources to have an impact and meet the needs of people with epilepsy in communities around the country. Together, we have established many nationwide initiatives and expanded our footprint to create awareness and encourage others to join our fight to END EPILEPSY®. It’s truly been the most incredible privilege to be the captain of this team, and I will treasure every moment of this chapter in my life.”

The Epilepsy Foundation expanded under Gattone’s leadership. In 2013, he led the Foundation’s merger with the Epilepsy Therapy Project, which helped to establish the largest and most comprehensive digital hub in the world for seizure information and education — In addition, he helped establish the SUDEP Institute and Wellness Institute, and expanded the Kids Crew program to further advance the Foundation’s impact and fuel its mission

Gattone also presided over the Epilepsy Foundation’s merger with affiliates such as Arizona, Greater Los Angeles, and the Northwest, and established new chapters in underserved regions. This strengthened the Epilepsy Foundation as the largest national network organization with 20 chapters and 29 affiliates throughout the United States. As part of the 2018 merger with Greater Los Angeles, the Epilepsy Foundation adopted the Walk to END EPILEPSY® and the Care & Cure Institute and is expanding these nationwide.

During Gattone’s tenure, the Epilepsy Foundation also invested in developing and launching a long-term, unifying nationwide campaign, "Let's Use Our Brains to END EPILEPSY," which reinforces that the brain is the source of epilepsy and uses personal stories to reinforce the importance and urgency of the cause. As a result of Gattone’s leadership, END EPILEPSY is now the organization's vision and north star.

“Phil’s relentless dedication, steadfast commitment and leadership have served the Epilepsy Foundation well these past eight years,” said Smith. “We are extremely grateful to him for helping to evolve the Foundation from a reliable source of support for people with epilepsy, to a proactive organization that seeks to meet the changing needs of our epilepsy community through advocacy, research, education, access to care and community services. We will miss Phil tremendously and wish him all the best in the next chapter of his life.”

Gattone is leaving the Foundation with a strong leadership team and Board of Directors who are ready to finalize and implement the organization’s new 2025 strategic plan.

“It is a critical time for the Epilepsy Foundation and our community as we put the brain front-and-center to fuel awareness and build upon our nationwide network of partners to optimize care, advocacy, research and education in the fight to END EPILEPSY,” said Bradley P. Boyer, Esq., incoming chair of the Board of Directors. “As we move our new strategic plan forward, we are looking for a visionary leader who understands and embraces the significance of our mission, can help mobilize action together and expand our impact, and who can fortify our values of passion, commitment to excellence, leadership, partnership, diversity, inclusiveness and integrity.”

The Foundation’s Board of Directors has enlisted Odgers Berndtson to lead the national search for a permanent CEO. Odgers Berndtson has decades of experience attracting highly regarded, nationally and internationally recognized leaders who effect positive change and growth into mission-focused organizations. For more information about the position, nominations and expressions of interest, please contact Odgers Berndtson at

About Epilepsy

According to the World Health Organization, epilepsy is the most common serious brain disorder worldwide with no age, racial, social class, national or geographic boundaries. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that 3.4 million people in the United States are affected by epilepsy. It is the underlying tendency of the brain to produce seizures which are sudden abnormal bursts of electrical energy that disrupt brain functions.

About the Epilepsy Foundation

With a network of nearly 50 partners throughout the United States, the Epilepsy Foundation is leading the fight to END EPILEPSY®. The Foundation connects people to treatment, support and resources; leads advocacy efforts; funds innovative research and the training of specialists; and educates the public about epilepsy and seizure first aid. For more than five decades, the Epilepsy Foundation has shone a light on epilepsy to promote awareness and understanding, and to advocate for laws that matter to people with epilepsy, while also funding $68.7 million for epilepsy research and supporting 3,091 epilepsy investigators and specialists in their early careers. Over the past 18 years, in partnership with the CDC, the Epilepsy Foundation has helped to improve access to care for people with epilepsy, expanded its digital reach and online resources in homes across the country, and trained more than 500,000 school and community personnel in how to recognize seizures and administer seizure first aid. The Foundation has also assisted more than 123,470 people through its 24/7 Helpline in the past five years, and continues to focus on innovation, new therapies, community services, advocacy and education as key priorities. To learn more visit or call 1-800-332-1000. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Contact Name: 
Jackie Aker
Contact Phone: 
(310) 846-9272
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Our Mission

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

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