The Corporation for National and Community Service board has elected Laysha L. Ward, president of community relations for Target, its new chair.
Ms. Ward, who was appointed to the board in 2008, replaces Mark Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, who has left the panel.
For the moment, Ms. Ward is heading a skeletal operation. The federal agency’s bipartisan board, which is supposed to have 15 members, has shrunk to six, and some positions have been vacant for more than two years. President Obama nominated people to fill seven seats about 18 months ago, but they have not been approved by the Senate.
The troubled agency, which runs AmeriCorps and other national-service programs, has also been operating without a permanent chief executive since Patrick Corvington resigned unexpectedly last April.
A Senate committee has approved President Obama’s nomination to succeed Mr. Corvington, Wendy Spencer, a longtime volunteerism advocate from Florida, as well as his board nominees. However, it is not clear when the full Senate will vote on his choices.
Ms. Ward has worked for Target since 1991. She also serves on the board of the Executive Leadership Council, a membership organization for African-American executives, and Denny’s Corp.
As chair of the national-service board, she also holds a seat on the White House Council for Community Solutions, a panel of nonprofit leaders and others who are advising the federal government on ways to promote innovative social projects and get people more involved in civic affairs.