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Komen Selects Salerno As New CEO

By Mark Hrywna - June 17, 2013

Ten months after announcing that its founder would step aside as chief executive officer, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity is turning to a national public health expert to lead the organization.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure in Dallas, Texas announced today that its 10-member Board of Directors has appointed Judith A. Salerno, M.D., M.S., as the new CEO. Salerno is executive director and chief operating officer of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.

Salerno is widely regarded for her expertise in medical research, healthcare policy, and for developing and implementing innovative public health programs, according to Komen’s announcement. “Judy’s years of proven leadership in public policy and research make her the right choice to lead all aspects of Komen’s mission,” Komen Board Chairwoman Linda Custard said via a statement accompanying today’s announcement.

A graduate of the Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, Salerno has served in executive, operational, research and public policy roles at the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and with community health and research organizations. She will be based at Komen’s global headquarters in Dallas.

As recently as Friday, Komen spokeswoman Andrea Rader declined to go into detail about the search process, only to say that Komen’s board is “absolutely committed to bringing the right person on board.”

The board unanimously approved the appointment on Friday, Rader said via an email today. The transition will begin with Salerno attending Komen’s affiliate conference this week in Dallas, and meeting frequently with the leadership team and board over the summer, she said. Brinker will begin her new role effective today.

In August 2012, Brinker announced that she would step down as CEO but remain on the 10-member board of the organization she founded in 1982. She has been serving as CEO until a permanent replacement was chosen. Brinker had been CEO since December 2009 after the positions of president and CEO were split.

Brinker will transition to a new position, chair of global strategy, focused on global mission and development. She earned a base salary of $548,765 as well as a bonus of nearly $125,000, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990 for the fiscal year ending March 2012, the most recent year available. Komen declined to disclose compensation or contract details in announcing its new chief executive.

Since the public relations debacle erupted in February 2012 regarding funding eligibility criteria for Planned Parenthood, Komen has seen a slew of executives at headquarters leave the organization, as well as executive turnover among its 120 affiliates. The organization has seen a decline in revenue and Race for the Cure participation, including a 32 percent drop in revenue from its signature 3-Day Race for the Cure. Komen announced last week that it would cut seven of its 14 3-Day races next year. For the fiscal year ending March 2012, total revenue was reported to be $407 million, according to audited financial statements, down from $439 million the previous year.

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