Churn Continues With Prominent CEO Changes

June 27, 2016       The NonProfit Times      

Changes at the top of name-brand nonprofits are coming fast and furiously, with seven changes — and more rumors of churn — during the just past two weeks.

The latest change is that Joe Daniels, who led the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum from its pre-construction infancy to its first full year of operations, is stepping down. He started as general counsel in June 2005, the 11th employee of the organization – before being appointed acting president in May 2006. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg became chairman of the board and made Daniels the permanent president and CEO in October 2006.

In Washington, D.C., Karen Hobert Flynn is the new president of Common Cause, the non-partisan government watchdog group. Hobert Flynn has been with the organization for more than half of its 46-year history and is the first president to have served as a state-level director for the organization.

Hobert Flynn replaces Miles Rapoport, who is stepping down from the role of president, but will serve as a senior adviser through September to facilitate a smooth transition. Rapoport replaced Common Cause CEO Bob Edgar who died suddenly at age 69 in 2013.

Near the nation’s capitol in Alexandria, Va., Andrew Watt left as president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), just three weeks after staff reorganization that reduced 25 percent of the staff and aimed to streamline operations and improve member services. AFP General Counsel Jason Lee was appointed interim president and CEO.

In Jacksonville, Fla., Michael S. Linnington, a retired lieutenant general, is the new president and CEO at Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). He joins WWP from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), where Secretary of Defense Ash Carter appointed him director in 2015.

His 35-year military career includes three tours in combat operations and command positions in numerous assignments around the world.

Linnington will oversee the organization’s day-to-day operations and set the strategic vision to guide the organization. He will be based at WWP’s headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla., and will report to the board of directors.

The organization had fired both its chief executive officer and chief operating officer on March 10. The move came six weeks after intense media scrutiny regarding the charity’s spending and personnel policies.

Despite some of the reporting by CBS News and The New York Times not being correct, WWP’s board determined the organization would benefit from new leadership, to best effectuate some policy changes and “help restore trust in the organization among all the constituencies” it serves.

In New York City, Local Initiatives Support Corporation unveiled Maurice Jones as its top executive. Jones, who rose from a small-town tobacco farm to become a leader in government and business, was appointed president and CEO of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in New York City.

Jones currently serves as Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce and Trade. He replaces Michael Rubinger, a community development pioneer, who will step down on Sept. 6 when Jones takes over.

Also in Manhattan, Judith Rodin and Anna Maria Chávez, two of the most prominent executives in the charitable sector both announced they are leaving their respective posts.

Rodin has been at the helm of The Rockefeller Foundation for 12 years and is widely respected as one of the most innovative and collaborative funders in the sector.

Chávez has been chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) since 2011. She led the nonprofit through a reorganization that was often tumultuous.

Sylvia Acevedo, a member of the GSUSA national board of directors, was appointed interim chief executive officer. According to an announcement from GSUSA, Chávez notified the board of her desire to actively explore a return to public service. Her last day on the job is June 30.

Kathy H. Hannan, president of GSUSA’s board, said the organization would begin an immediate national search to find a permanent successor to Chávez.

Chávez’s tenure was a rocky one, marked by layoffs and staff members making statements to newspapers regarding the changes and her management style.

At The Rockefeller Foundation, Rodin’s leadership ushered the organization into a new era of strategic philanthropy that emphasized partnerships with business, government, and the philanthropic community to address and solve for the complex challenges.

In her announcement to the board, Rodin and Board Chair Dick Parsons, committed to a seamless transition. Rodin will continue to lead the foundation until a new president takes office. The search for a new president will begin late this summer, according to the organization.

He currently manages 13 state agencies focused on the economic needs in his native state of Virginia. He previously served as deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) overseeing operations for the agency’s 8,900 staff. Prior to that he was commissioner of Virginia’s Department of Social Services and deputy chief of staff to former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.