NAACP names panel to find new president

15-member search committee led by Bond includes activists, scholars, business people

October 11, 2007|By Kelly Brewington | Kelly Brewington,Sun reporter

The NAACP has named a 15-member search committee to find a replacement for former president and CEO Bruce Gordon, who resigned from the Baltimore-based civil rights organization in March.

The committee, made up of activists, scholars and business people, is working with the San Francisco-based firm HNCL Search.

Along with National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Chairman Julian Bond, the committee includes: Patrick R. Gaston, president of Verizon Foundation; Mary Frances Berry, the Geraldine R. Segal professor of American social thought and professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania; Heather Booth, president of the Midwest Academy, a national training center for social change; Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; Lamell McMorris, managing partner of the Washington-based firm Perennial Sports and Entertainment; and Ralph G. Neas, president emeritus of People for the American Way.

Additional committee members include board members the Rev. Wendell Anthony, Cora Breckenridge, Gina Clayton, the Rev. Theresa A. Dear, David E. Goatley, Aubrey Hooper, Adora Obi Nweze and Jesse H. Turner Jr.

Gordon's abrupt departure after 19 months on the job came after repeated clashes with board members over the organization's philosophy and leadership style.

The former Verizon executive said he wanted the organization to combine traditional civil rights advocacy with social programs. Bond and other leaders said that the NAACP's vision and methods would not change.

NAACP General Counsel Dennis C. Hayes has acted as the organization's interim president since Gordon's departure.

The search comes amid financial troubles at the NAACP. Noting a budget shortfall, the organization in June cut 40 percent of the staff positions at its Baltimore headquarters and temporarily closed its regional offices. Board members have since embarked on an aggressive fund-raising campaign.

Bond said in a statement yesterday that he is confident the NAACP will find a replacement whose priorities match that of the nation's oldest civil rights organization.

"There has been no shortage of qualified applicants," said Bond, adding that he has received 30 unsolicited resumes from people seeking to take over the helm. "The work of the selection committee is crucial in nominating individuals whose values are aligned with the NAACP's mission of being truly dedicated to the principles of social justice and eradicating racial discrimination."

kelly.brewington@baltsun.com

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