Richard Davis, the former chairman and chief executive of U.S. Bancorp, has been selected for the top job at Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, completing a transition out of banking and into philanthropy.

Make-A-Wish, the Phoenix-based organization that creates experiences and fulfills dreams of children with critical illnesses, on Wednesday announced Davis as its new CEO. He will start in January.

"I have always been inspired by the remarkable work of Make-A-Wish," Davis said in a statement. "I am very grateful for this opportunity to lead Make-A-Wish and to join the remarkable staff and countless volunteers who participate in granting a wish every 34 minutes of each day."

He succeeds David Williams, who has led the foundation for 14 years.

Davis — who climbed the banking industry ladder from teller to CEO — led Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp for more than a decade, including through the banking crisis of the Great Recession. He announced his retirement in 2017, serving as the bank's executive chairman for the following year.

"Richard's compassion for people combined with his leadership excellence make him the perfect choice for CEO," said Andy Cecere, current chairman and chief executive of U.S. Bancorp. "We wish Richard the very best and know he will accomplish great things for Make-A-Wish and the families they serve."

A longtime community booster, Davis, 60, currently sits on the boards of the national American Red Cross, Mayo Clinic and Greater MSP, a group that promotes the Twin Cities region.

Davis has been one of Minnesota's most visible civic leaders, spearheading an array of regional events and initiatives from the campaign for a new Vikings stadium — for which his company later bought naming rights — to advocating for early childhood education. He was co-chairman of the Super Bowl Host Committee Executive Board and instrumental in lobbying the NFL for the 2018 event.

"Richard is very much dedicated to the Make-A-Wish mission … and we are excited to see him leading the organization forward," said David Clark, chairman of the Make-A-Wish board of directors. "He brings decades of experience leading large teams and organizations and we feel he is exactly the right person to lead us into the next chapter."

Kristen Leigh Painter • 612-673-4767