YMCA of Central Md. names outsider CEO



The YMCA of Central Maryland has selected a Baltimore business executive as its new leader, who is believed to be the first one hired outside the YMCA community in the group's 150-year history, officials announced yesterday.

John K. Hoey, 46, president of Progressus Therapy, a division of Baltimore-based Educate Inc., will begin his new job July 5. He takes over for Lee Jensen, a longtime YMCA executive, who is retiring after 11 years as president and chief executive officer.

The YMCA traditionally looks internally for leadership, but the community service organization has recently tapped the corporate world and other groups for chief executives, said Arnie Collins, a spokesman for the YMCA of the USA. In the past two years, chapters in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Chicago have hired leaders from outside the YMCA, Collins said.

"There's been a long-standing practice of business leaders moving into chief executive roles in nonprofits," said Rob Johnston, executive director of Pace University's Helene & Grant Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship, which is developing a program to help business people transition to nonprofit groups. "I think moving forward, we may be seeing more of this."

Julie Mercer, co-chair of the nine-member search committee, said the local YMCA was looking for a candidate with business and marketing skills to lead the $34 million nonprofit, which serves Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties, along with Baltimore.

After a six-month nationwide search, the organization hired Hoey, who earned a master's degree in business administration at the State University of New York and has held executive positions at the former Sylvan Learning Systems and Educate for 11 years.

Hoey said yesterday that he was not looking for a new job but found the opportunity at the YMCA attractive. Mercer said Hoey's salary would be comparable to Jensen's earnings, which was listed as $209,739 in the group's IRS 990 form in 2005.

"I care very much about the community and the issues of families and kids, which is really the broadest way of looking at what the Y does," Hoey said. "It seems like a very compelling way to run what in many ways is a business while being able to do that in the context of a very important community nonprofit activity."


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