Benefits / Resources / Articles
May 22, 2024

PPA CEO David Trust Announces Plans to Step Aside in 2026

Association takes steps to ensure continued success for the future.

Professional Photographers of America today announced a major leadership initiative designed to keep the association on its two-decade upward trajectory. The association’s long-time CEO, David Trust, informed the Board of Directors during its April board meeting of his plans to retire effective April 2026. That announcement set in motion a unique transition plan to minimize disruption to staff, while protecting PPA’s unprecedented slate of member benefits for years to come.

Trust, whose 25-year stint as PPA’s CEO is the longest in the association’s 156-year history, recommended that the Board of Directors adopt a succession plan, rather than engaging in a traditional CEO search. “Succession planning is only an option for financially stable organizations with a lot of trained leadership on staff. A traditional CEO search is for organizations that need a shake-up or a new direction,” said PPA CEO David Trust. "We feel very fortunate to be in the first category." 

In search of the right successor, the PPA board of directors conducted multiple rounds of interviews over a three-week period. Once the field was narrowed to two candidates, a final interview was conducted. 

“We had seven highly qualified candidates step forward,” said PPA President Mark Campbell. “It is an impressive group. What a luxury to have that amount of trained leadership on stand-by. We get to breathe pretty rare air at PPA.”

Once the interviews were complete, the board deliberated before choosing PPA’s Director of Education, Angela Kurkian to take on the additional role of Deputy Chief Executive Officer. Kurkian arrived on the scene in 2012 as the architect behind the association’s new education system. Like all PPA senior staff, Kurkian participated in twice-yearly off-site training sessions, and was engaged in countless additional leadership training experiences during her time at PPA. 

“Honestly, I am so honored to have been chosen from a group of people that I consider to be fantastic leaders and friends,” says Kurkian. “We all know PPA like the back of our hand, but when it comes to this job, there is so much to learn. I’m looking forward to the journey. Our team is ready for this.”

PPA senior staff members each lead a department within the organization. However, each is also a part of the association’s senior leadership team, participating in budget preparation, visioning exercises, and operational implementation. As part of their regular responsibilities, each senior staff member also participates in a rotation in leading company staff meetings. 

“PPA’s senior staff are well-trained. They understand the mission and the cause,” says Campbell. “They understand how things work and, more importantly, why they work that way. It’s exciting to be a part of something like this. We are where every other association in the U.S. wishes it could be.”


Kurkian will continue with her current responsibilities heading PPA’s Education Department while spending the two-year transition period being slowly immersed into more CEO-specific training, including acclimation to the association’s efforts on Capitol Hill. 

In the meantime, Trust intends to intensify his efforts on behalf of PPA members. “I’m definitely not planning to slow down. If anything, I’m speeding up because there’s still a lot we need to do. But when the day does come for me to step aside, I can promise you we’ll be in very, very good hands.”


For more information on this press release, please reach out to Director of Marketing and Communications, Gregory Aide at [email protected].

About PPA 
Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is the largest and longest-standing nonprofit photography trade association. Founded in 1868, PPA currently helps 35,000+ professionals elevate their craft and grow their business with resources and education, all under PPA’s core guiding principle of bridging the gap between photographers and consumers.