Johann Koss is the President and CEO of Right To Play International. He oversees the global operations of the organization while also guiding Right To Play’s long term strategic direction.
Johann is an internationally recognized social entrepreneur
who has been widely acknowledged for his work in promoting the use of sport and play as a tool for positive childhood development. He founded Right To Play in
2000, dedicating himself to growing it into an influential international non-government organization and a leader in the Sport for Development and Peace movement. The organization operates in more than 20 countries reaching over one million children each week. In 2014, it has an annual budget of $48 million, and will be supported by 600 staff worldwide and 16,400 volunteer Coaches.
Johann has received a number of awards for his philanthropic service and leadership. Most recently, he has received the 2013 LEGO Prize from the LEGO Foundation and the 2013 Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership. In 2012 he was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Special Citation award for social entrepreneurship, and in 2011 he received the Newman’s Own Award. Johann has been named by TIME Magazine as “One of 100 Future Leaders of Tomorrow” as well as been declared a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He is also an Ashoka Global Fellow.
Before founding Right To Play, Johann was an Olympic speed skater and is considered to be one of the greatest winter Olympians of all time. At the 1994 Lillehammer Olympic Games, in his home country of Norway, he won three gold medals making world headlines. The 1994 Games proved to be the visionary launch point for the start of a movement that would bring the power of sport and play to children living in disadvantaged communities around the world and ultimately the organization that would become Right To Play.
Over the course of Johann’s athletic career, he won a total of four gold medals, broke 10 world records, won three World All-round Championships, and numerous World Cups and National Championships. As the result of his athletic accomplishments and simultaneous humanitarian efforts, Johann was named the 1994 Sportsman of the Year by
Sports Illustrated, and was given the Jesse Owens Award, the International Athletic Foundation Award, and the Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award. Johann was presented the Child Survival Award by the Carter Center in Atlanta, and during the celebration of UNICEF’s 50th anniversary, was given UNICEF’s Honorary Award.
Johann has an undergraduate medical degree from the University of Queensland, and an Executive MBA from the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, at the University of Toronto. He has received honorary degrees from Brock University, the University of Calgary, the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, the University of Aust Agder in Norway and most recently the University of Guelph-Humber.
In addition to his work with Right To Play, Johann is a Board member of Dream Global and Industrial REIT and Secunda Inc. He lives in Toronto, Ontario with his wife Jennifer and their children, Aksel and Annabelle.