Each year a distinguished Rotarian is selected as the worldwide President of Rotary International. The process begins two years in advance when 17 members from 34 zones comprising a nominating committee is elected from separate regions of the world. To qualify for the nominating committee, a Rotarian must have served on the RI Board of Directors and have extensive Rotary experience and substantial acquaintanceship with the world leaders of Rotary.
The nominating committee may consider all former RI directors for the presidential candidate. Members of the nominating committee and current directors are not eligible. Any Rotary club may suggest the name of a former RI director to the committee for consideration.
Any Rotary club may make an additional nomination before December 1, which must then be endorsed by one percent of all the Rotary clubs of the world, or about 250 of them. If such an event occurs, an election is held by mail ballot. If no additional nomination is presented by the clubs, the person selected by the nominating committee is declared to be the president-nominee. From that point on, that special Rotarian and spouse will spend more than a year in preparation and then a year serving the Rotarians of the world as International President.
Recent RI Presidents:
- Gary C.K. Huang (2014-2015)
- Ron D. Burton (2013–2014)
- Sakuji Tanaka (2012–2013)
- Kalyan Banerjee (2011–2012)
- Ray Klinginsmith (2010–2011)
- John Kenny (2009–2010)
- Dong Kurn Lee (2008–2009)
- Wilfrid J. Wilkinson (2007–2008)
- William Boyd (2006–2007)
- Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar (2005–2006)
- Glenn E. Estess, Sr. (2004–2005)
- Jonathan B. Majiyagbe (2003–2004)
- Bhichai Rattakul (2002–2003)
- Richard D. King (2001–2002)